Buddha’s Robes: A photographic exhibition by Tobi Wilkinson

Art Almanac
16 April 2014

Buddha said, “After my death, the monks and nuns who practice vinaya will represent me.” As it is said in Tibetan common folklore when a monk misbehaves he is dragging the Buddha in the mud by tying his robe to his feet. A most important national asset for the Tibetan people, so much so it is believed that when the Buddhist teaching disappears from the surface of the universe the colour red itself will disappear.

The images in this exhibition are alive with the various free flowing movements of the robes independent of the individual personalities going about their spiritual life.

Symbols of nothingness yet capturing the invisible beauty and grace of the very foundation of Buddhism, the images encapsulate the living spirit of both art and sacred concept.

Tobi Wilkinson, who has made a study of these monks for over 6 years says of this work, “I am drawn to the esoteric, the abstract, to the reflections of life evident in shadows and shapes, in the effect of movement and what is unseen, or barely seen,” she explains. “This exhibition combines all of these elements, underpinned by the monks’ spiritual prowess, which speaks to their every waking moment.”

By focusing on the monks’ robes, Wilkinson emphasises her respect for the spiritual practice behind the swathes of fabric. The exhibition allows us to look behind the stereotype and engage with these remarkable men who are attempting to live a spiritual life in thought, word and deed, each moment of every day.

Bondi Pavilion Gallery
15 to 27 April, 2014
Sydney

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