Wednesday 12 March 2014

The Painted Mantra

As part of the "Bodies in Balance" Tibetan Medicine exhibition at the Rubin Museum of Art in NYC, Tashi Mannox gives a lecture and calligraphy interactive "The Painted Mantra". Participants are invited to join Tashi in creating the sacred proportion and significance of the, seed syllable of Medicine Buddha that is essential to the visualisation practice around which the mantra of healing is arranged. 

The lecture begins with an explanation of Dharma art and its practical role historically and for a person on the spiritual path. The lecture concludes with creating a contemporary rendition of the Tibetan medical tree of diagnosis, whereby participants will be invited to ink their thumbs or fingers to print as leaves on the calligraphy tree. 

Edie Irwin of Rokpa International finishes the talk with a few words about Rokpa's charitable work regarding current Tibetan medicine practices in Tibet. 

"The Painted Mantra" from 7 - 9pm, Wednesday 2nd April 2014, for bookings please follow the link here.

Following Tashi's talk at the Rubin, on the 4th-5th and 6th April, he will lead an intensive workshop in Tibetan calligraphy held at the Shang Shung Institute Library in Conway, Massachusetts.

Healing Mantra Garland

Creating the Medicine Buddha mantra in ancient Lantsa Sanskrit

According the the visualisation of the Medicine Buddha sādhanā, the dhāraṇī mantra of Medicine Buddha turns clockwise around the seed syllable hum, as illustrated above in blue. 
The line of small text at the base of the above art piece translates as "The hum in the heart of the self and the front visualisations is surrounded by the mantra garland"  

It is impossible of course, to illustrate the turning of the mantra in such a way as a calligraphy on a flat piece of paper, so to illustrate this, the mantra is depicted starting at the bottom of a circle of text that reads to follow anticlockwise. If the circle would be movable, fixing the gaze to read the mantra at one fixed point, the circle of text would turn clockwise.

In creating this art-piece, Tashi needed to take particular care to organise the length of the mantra to fit the full circle, much calculation and measurements in preparation was needed. Each character of the mantra and the seed syllable at the centre was traced and positioned before inking in. 

Using a window makes a very effective 'light-box' when tracing the reverse of the image before applying to the artwork.  

In filling with black ink.

This art piece was especially created for the Rubin Museum of Art as part of their "Bodies in Balance" exhibition of Tibetan medical art. Tashi gives a lecture/calligraphy interactive at the Rubin on the 2nd April 2014, for more details please follow the link here.

Calligraphies in Conversation

Calligraphies in Conversation is an international exhibition at the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California (ICCNC) highlighting traditional Middle Eastern and Islamic calligraphic art in dialogue with other calligraphy traditions specially Far East calligraphy.

“Calligraphies in Conversation” runs from March to May 2014 and focuses on the connections between Islamic and Eastern calligraphic traditions. ICCNC is incredibly excited to pilot this new project in conjunction with Ziya Art Center and partners from nearby Oakland Chinatown such as Oakland Asian Cultural Center.

An exhibition of curated and newly-made calligraphy from both traditions will be on display. The Curatorial and Jury Panel consists of ICCNC and Ziya Art Center experts as well as local artists have received over 115 submissions from invited calligraphers and through an open call for artists. Most of submissions were from the US, mainly Bay Area, California; but there were several international submissions from different countries including Tashi Mannox of the United Kingdom, Shu Yi Liu of China, Mohammad Navid Bazargan of Iran, Uehira Baikei of Japan, and Josh Berer of Turkey. After a competitive jury process close to 50 artworks have been accepted from 20 artists for the exhibit illustrating a diverse array of Chinese, Japanese, Tibetan, Arabic, Persian, and Turkish calligraphy artworks.

As an additional goal, the exhibitions, by encompassing traditional artworks of different cultures, aim to foster dialogue between diverse cultures and faiths through a traditional art form. Such viewing combinations are rare in California, and will provide the public with the unique opportunity to recognize shared features: The traditions all highlight the power of written word via inscribing it artistically with pen and ink, and emphasize a direct relationship between spirituality and calligraphy. Being a good calligrapher, in the traditional sense, goes hand in hand with developing strong spirit and character.

Above, one of the exhibits from Tashi Mannox entitled "The Great Perfection of Ah" available in the link here to order as a limited edition print.