Buddhist Art – An Extraordinary Exhibition

May 17th, 2009

‘Gleaning just a hint of of the realms of Buddhism is like looking into the stunning infinity of the night sky, recognizing in such a scale of things the absurdity of that most privileged yet tortured species, the human animal, but seeing at the same time the extraordinary power and uniqueness of our species.’ Edmund Capon, Director, Art Gallery of New South Wales.

In 2001 the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Australia began an initiative to promote the understanding and appreciation of Asian art and culture through exhibitions, publications and programs. One such extraordinary exhibition was Buddha: Radiant Awakening. Exhibited was some of the most important Buddhist Art in existence, on loan from the world’s most prestigious museums as well as private collections. The exhibition was broadly conceived around three concepts; firstly the life the Buddha; secondly the radiance of both the ideals and the image of the Buddha manifest in so many different ways and means; and thirdly the worlds into which those manifold Buddhas are projected.  Jackie Menzies, Head Curator of Asian Art assisted by Adrian Snodgrass, distinguished scholar of Buddhism, did an amazing job in organizing an exhibition of such immense challenges.

I have included a few images from the exhibition for those who didn’t have the good fortune of seeing it. It is a mere glimpse of the remarkable works of Buddhist art presented.