Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Repentant Burmese Monk

In 2012, riots broke out between Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims in the Rakhine (Arakan) state of Myanmar. The conflict resulted in the displacement of over 20,000 people. Rohingyas, originally Muslims from Bangladesh, are the subject of a campaign of commercial boycott led by the 969 Movement, a nationalist movement in Myanmar. The Movement is opposed to what they see as Islam’s expansion in predominantly-Buddhist Burma and have the tacit support of Buddhist monks.
I drew from this story the image of a faceless repentant monk who wants to put the stains of the violence he supported away by retreating into a forest to meditate. While the image of the monk in meditation is that of peace and the lack of expression, the frame is stained, busy and jarring. Therein lies the contradiction. I have used various media - acrylic, markers, pastels and digital photography – to create this piece of art.

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