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Visualizing Impermanence: A Sand Mandala Installation

art matters gallery

Visualizing Impermanence: A Sand Mandala Installation

Juliana Molina

Sand Mandala by Artist-In-Residence, Karma Sonam

November 24, 2012 - December 2, 2012

Art Works’ Artist-in-Residence, Mr. Karma Sonam. Karma is a highly trained ritual artist and former Buddhist monk who created a sand mandala at Art Works’ gallery project, art matters.

Also during our closing receptionwe welcomed representatives from the International Campaign for Tibet and contemporary Tibetan artist, Gyatso Losang who presented(6 pm) Identity and Creativity: A Dialog for Survival, a discussion about the artist’s personal search for core Tibetan values and aesthetic expressions from which he attempts to create new spaces for Tibetan identity to inhabit and grow.

Karma Sonam/Karma Lama

Karma Lama was a Buddhist monk for 23 years in the Sakya tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.  He is very knowledgeable in the religious rituals, and he is an experienced mandala and torma maker.  He has served His Holliness Sakya Trizin directly, and has traveled with Him to many countries as His ritual master.

Karma Lama was born in the Himalayas, and worked as a yak herder from a very young age.  At the age of 14 he decided to become a monk.  He made the long journey down from his village in the mountains to Dehradun, India.  There he was accepted into the Sakya monastery, and he received 13 years of monastic training

Gyatso Losang

Born in Tibet, Gyatso was raised mainly in Britain, where he attended secondary schools during the era of the Beatles, the moon landing, and Vietnam. Later returning to a Tibetan refugee community in India, he studied Tibetan painting for two years, before coming to the United States in 1974.

Once in the U.S., Gyatso attended art school in San Francisco. He worked as an Art Director in New York for 16 years, winning many industry awards, such as the Clio, Addy and the One show.

In recent years, Gyatso has devoted more time to his artwork while also engaged in other projects. He is the designer of several books on Tibet. Gyatso’s work has been exhibited internationally including galleries in Colorado, New York, New Mexico, Washington DC, Canada, and Switzerland.

Identity and Creativity: A Dialog for Survival:
The pressures on Tibetan culture and identity are felt both by Tibetans inside Tibet whose lives are dominated by policies driven by Chinese interests, and in diaspora communities by the forces of the dominant cultures within which they live. This has over the last 50 years led to an unprecedented degree of separation between a people and their traditional cultural and historical narratives, causing a sense of loss and dislocation that may be driving the desperate acts of protests occurring almost daily inside Tibet. Contemporary Tibetan artist Gyatso will talk about his personal search for core Tibetan values and aesthetic expressions from which he attempts to create new spaces for Tibetan identity to inhabit and grow.