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(Top) Kaveri tints base colors with students, (Bottom) Students at work

AT HOME WITH GOLDEN

 

GOLDEN supports the creation of an important Buddhist Temple in Sarnath, India


 
Kaveri and TJ Singh (Los Angeles, CA) are leading a team of artists in the decoration of a newly constructed temple at an institute for Buddhist studies in Sarnath, India, which is where Buddha delivered his first sermon. A combination of Proceed® Dispersions and various GOLDEN Mediums were donated to the project to create Kaveri and TJ's design scheme. 
 
Both professional and apprentice artists have joined Kaveri and TJ to complete this mural honoring the life of Buddha. The artists include Tibetan-style thangka painters from Sikkim, Nepal, and Bhutan; decorative painters from Europe and America; and more than a dozen BFA and MFA art students from several Indian universities. 
 
Kaveri said about the project's group effort: "Once in a lifetime there may come an opportunity when we, as artists, become merely an expression of the collective human spirit, when the awareness of community allows us to create art that expresses our need to connect to our own Buddha nature. This is the most rare and precious of gifts. For this blessing, and for the matchless opportunity to share it at such a holy place, I am forever grateful." 
 
The goal of the mural is to convey a sense of tranquility and stillness in the institute's main hall, a space typically used for meditation and chanting. The principal concept of the mural is that nature – as portrayed through art – conveys the inner landscape of the heart and mind, and that the forms of the natural realm that we see around us mirror the spiritual domain. 
 
The open air, natural habitats and forest trees have a special fascination for the Eastern mind as symbols of spiritual freedom. Although Buddha spent a lot of time teaching in cities, key events of his life such as birth, enlightenment, the first sermon, and death took place in the open air of the natural realm: thus the Sarnath mural is dominated by three walls of landscapes portraying northern India where Buddha lived and taught. The fourth wall features scenes from Buddha's life; a skyscape is painted on the ceiling and trompe l'oeil painted ornamentation helps to tie in the room's interior architecture to the mural. 
 
Because this part of India tends to be quite dusty – thousands of years of rivers flowing across the Gangetic plains have created a very fine, silty soil which tends to settle everywhere – the artists are working with a fresh-looking, less-aged palette of colors. The mural's landscape uses a combination of light greens with muted, dusty pinks inspired by northern Indian Pahari-style miniature paintings, and subtle hues blended with brilliant tones convey the sense of balance implicit in the Buddha's middle path of equilibrium. 
 
The motifs of the trompe l'oeil ornamentation are inspired by the carved stone relief on the nearby Dhamek Stupa, which marks the spot where Buddha gave his first sermon. Bands of lotus leaves and flowers and other Indian flora from the stupa are incorporated into the mural's architectural ornamentation. The lotus is a favorite motif in Indian art, particularly Buddhist art. Although the plant usually grows in murky waters, the lotus blossom emerges clean, pure, and beautiful out of the mud, much like Buddha did so long ago.
 
For more information, please visit http://www.sarnathsacredmurals.blogspot.in/.
 

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