In VISUAL ART by Andra Samelson1 Comment

The world’s two tallest standing statues of Buddha were destroyed on March 11, 2001 in Bamiyan, Afghanistan by the fundamentalist Taliban rulers. These statues were of tremendous importance to the cultural heritage of Afghanistan. Their destruction was not just an eradication of ancient beauty and inspiration but also a savage act of censorship and intolerance.

This event was met with worldwide condemnation and was a sad harbinger of the violence to come exactly six months later in America on September 11. In response to both these tragic events, I created a body of work to give remembrance to the splendor and peace of these two towering Buddhas.

“Bamiyan: A Continuum” was rendered as 108 ever-present seated Buddhas at rest super-imposed over the statues that were destroyed, symbolizing the indestructible state of meditation. This work was exhibited in the 5 year traveling exhibition “The Missing Peace: Artists Consider the Dalai Lama”.

My intention was to relate the tragic event in Bamiyan to the tragic event of the eradication of Tibet, and to the Dalai Lama’s forced exit from Tibet, while emphasizing that as a living Buddha, he is still present in the world as a symbol of peace and compassion and tolerance.

In these times of increasing turbulence and terrorism, violence, war and evil, may the glorious indestructible teachings and blessings of Buddha and all his manifestations bring an end to the suffering of all beings everywhere.

About the Author
Andra Samelson

Andra Samelson

Andra Samelson is a multi-media artist whose work explores the relationship of microcosm and macrocosm, the celestial and terrestrial. Originally from Denver, Colorado, Samelson currently lives and works in both New York City and Delhi, NY. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College and is a recipient of fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Corporation of Yaddo, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

All artwork by Andra Samelson.

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  1. Hi Andra

    I saw these statues in Afghanistan in 1973, and later came to know that Central Asia has numerous, ancient Buddhist sites. Thank you for creating these vivid, beautiful works that are so evocative and important.

    I am currently living in Australia with my wife, Mim, daughter, Lily, and son Joe. Maybe one day we will meet again.

    Ward Brisick

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