Join contemporary Tibetan artist Gonkar Gyatso in a conversation with Katherine Paul (Newark Museum) and Melissa R. Kerin (Washington and Lee University) to explore his internationally recognized art. Gyatso is best known for mixing Buddhist iconography with pop imagery to examine the complexities of defining identity when different cultures simultaneously coexist and conflict. His most recent work, Buddha’s Picnic, premiered at Washington and Lee’s Staniar Gallery (Lexington, VA; February 12 – March 17) with support from the Lehman Foundation. The installation is a modern shrine filled with mass-produced Buddhist devotional objects including electric prayer wheels, neon-colored Buddha statues, and flashing Lotus lights.
Gonkar Gyatso is a Tibetan born British artist. Born in 1961 in Lhasa, Gonkar moved to London in the late 90's on scholarship to the Chelsea School of Art and Design, where he attained his MA in Fine Art. (Gyatso studied Chinese Brush Painting in Beijing, attaining a B.F.A. and Thangka--traditional Tibetan scroll painting--in Dharamsla.) He has been living and working in the West ever since; and is the founder of the Sweet Tea House, a contemporary art gallery dedicated to showing Tibetan work, based in London. Gyatso was the recipient of a Leverhelm Fellowship in 2003 and was an artist in residence at Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford.