Forgetting the Self, 2021

This series of works on Japanese rice paper began slowly in 2013 after I got back from Nairobi, Kenya. It has coincided with my zen-practice and I see my this series as a continued contemplative artistic practice. None of these works has ever been shown in private shows, but many of the works in this ongoing series have found their ways to private collections all around the world. The Japanese Kanji letters were produced on two workshops with Ougai Kofude sensei from Kioto, Japan.

The title of this collection Forgetting the Self refers to 13th century zen-master Dōgen’s writing known as the Genjo-koan: To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be actualized by myriad things. When actualized by myriad things, your body and mind as well as the bodies and minds of others drop away. No trace of realization remains, and this no-trace continues endlessly. (Translation by Robert Aitken and Kazuaki Tanahashi).

This series continue my utilization of artist mediums related to bloody history of colonialism. Acknowledging that I am deeply integrated into the Western dominant culture, I study these materials (including: Japanese and Chinese rice-paper, India ink and Japanese ink and Western and Japanese water-colors) with humility and respect. The collage technique of layering several layers of thin rice-paper with rice-glue produces very substantial, surprising and delicate outcomes.

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