THE BURNING BUDDHA SYMBOLIZES THE GHOST THAT IS LEFT TO SPEAK TO US OF FREEDOM, AND OF HOPE, A GHOST THAT STANDS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND REMAINS A BEACON REPRESENTING THE SANCTITY OF LIFE AND THE VALUE OF OUR BELIEFS.
The Burning Buddha departs from the conventional images of the Buddha in its realistic portrayal of a female individual challenging the traditional iconography of Buddhism. Symbolizing human rights protest the figure embraces a course of action that contradicts the Buddhist ideals of detachment from the material and physical world and the absence of action, thought, and feeling. The purpose of the artwork is to celebrate the will to fight for human rights the world over, to fight against oppression, to exercise the right to speak out for freedom and to reinforce the civic duty of the individual and artist.
Within the violence of the flame and the ultimate forfeit of one’s life this tribute suggests peace in sacrifice and stands for the search for freedom, both spiritual and physical and the reassertion of the right to spiritual and political self-determination.
This Activist or intentional art is a form of expression that addresses socio-political issues by using aesthetic images to inform the viewer. The sculpture conveys awareness of social-political concerns and dramatises the need for human rights everywhere.
Based on the act of self-immolation, considered to be among the most powerful symbolic acts of protest, it transcends the ideals of religious practice or political assertion to become a spiritual plea and a tribute. The Burning Buddha asks us to remember those who have given their lives to bring human rights to the world’s attention. It honours these lives and deaths, the principles to which they are devoted, and the faith of those who cared about the rights of humanity so deeply.
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