About this project
I'm working on an exciting project called AKSHA—a platform for preserving knowledge within Asian spiritual art traditions* and supporting their application in the contemporary world.
Your pledge will be used towards the design and construction of AKSHA's first multi-media installation at the Buddhadasa Indapanno Archives in Bangkok next year. It's an exhibit that could travel to international venues and would supplement AKSHA’s future on-line resource for artists and collectors.
I’ve been in South and Southeast Asia for a year working with artists who uphold spiritual art traditions. These are sculptors, painters, craftsmen and women who study, practice and teach ancient stories and skills. It’s been a fascinating journey! I’ve learned an incredible amount of practical wisdom from them—and realized that you may as well.
So together we are creating AKSHA. Our goal is to give people around the world access to the teachings embedded within spiritual art forms and plug regional artists into a global community.
Our first step is to document this knowledge through a website and present it at an exhibition at the spacious Buddhadasa Indapanno Archives in Bangkok. Planned for September 2013, I'm collaborating with the students and teachers at the Pohchang Academy of Art in Bangkok to create an exhibition that will unearth practical and philosophical issues held within the creative techniques and visual forms of Southeast Asian spiritual art.
Partnership is the cornerstone to this project! To fund AKSHA’s upcoming exhibition, I collaborated with emerging designers Nine & Don from Good After Nine to create a unique line of jewelry that is inspired by a common theme found in spiritual art—the unity of contrasting elements like light and dark, life and death.
Designed exclusively for AKSHA, the beads are hand-crafted in wax before cast, hand finished and plated in silver. Each bead is 12mm (diameter).
A contemporary take on prayer beads from various traditions, they can be used both as supports for meditation and worn as elegant accessories day-to-night.
- "Luminous Ground" (Earrings, Ring, Bracelet)
- "Luminous Space" (Earrings, Ring, Bracelet)
- "Luminous Abundance" (Earrings, Ring, Bracelet)
- "Transcendence" (Bracelet)
Sizing: Rings are adjustable and bracelets are bound by high-density elastic (15-18 cm ideal circumference).
Shipping, Care & Storage: Each piece is individually wrapped in hand-made paper and placed in an air-tight bag within a drawstring pouch. This is the best way to keep silver from tarnishing from moisture. Clean with soap and water, or silver polish. Shipping via registered Air Mail.
More Project Info
Here's what we've accomplished so far for AKSHA:
- Assembled a super-skilled team from around the planet.
- Established partnerships with institutions (listed below) and connected with traditional artists from Thailand, Burma, Vietnam, China, India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal.
- Begun to develop design and content for AKSHA’s exhibition.
- Opened the AKSHA landing page, blog and Facebook page.
- Minette Lee Mangahas – project director
- Derek Chung at Tactile Pictures– web program & design
- Nine, Don, & Win at Good After Nine – jewelry design & fabrication
- Patr Srisook at Tenztudio – photographer & video director
- We also have a spectacular international Advisory Board.
- Buddhadasa Indapanno Archives
- Fulbright Foundation (TUSEF)
- Pohchang Academy of Art, Rajamangala University
- Deer Park Institute
- International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB)
- Sewalanka Foundation
- A very special thank you to Walter Kitundu and Robin Sukhadia for letting use their gorgeous music for our video.
Feel free to email me with questions at email@example.com.
* The Asian spiritual art traditions I'm working with at the moment often reflect a shifting mix of Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, and Christianity. Prayer Beads are also used in Islam.
Risks and challenges
To maintain the highest possible standard of quality, each piece of jewelry is inspected and perfected by hand, requiring time, patience and skill. The entire process requires approximately 4-6 weeks.
Delays may be caused by suppliers of raw materials, slight variations in the casting process, and the level of demand. If we run into significant delays, I'll let you know why and when we will ship your rewards.
We're happy to replace a piece if there is a defect that is due to an error in manufacturing.
Exchanges between of designs can be made (subject to the availability of other designs). In this case, the backer would incur the additional cost of shipping.
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After making your pledge, you don't have to decide which design you want right away. You can just select what level of reward you would like. Once we reach our goal, I'll send all backers a note to get your choice of designs.
Yes! When you make your pledge, simply multiply $125 by the number of bracelets you want.
For 2 bracelets, pledge $250 or more. Then select the Luminous Trio as a reward. When we reach our goal, I will write you a note to ask for your selection. Respond to tell me that you’d like 2 bracelets and which designs.
Absolutely. A small card will accompany each reward with care instructions, information on AKSHA, as well as the art and concepts that inspired the designs.
As an emerging platform, AKSHA will work like a series of interconnected wheels or gears.
Gear 1: AKSHA supports and nurtures the roots of spiritual artforms by working directly with individual artists. Most of these artists are elders, teachers and self-made scholars who have been identified with the help of AKSHA’s institutional partners (see above list). Some live in rural communities, close to the origin of their artforms. They have the capacity to mobilize growth within their communities by training and employing others if given the opportunity to grow their work.
At the moment, most of the artists in AKSHA's network don't have the skills and resources to create and market their own work internationally on-line (as people do via platforms like Etsy). So AKSHA aims to give them the opportunity to increase their capacity by facilitating their partnership with emerging designers. In the process of working with AKSHA and designers they gain new skills and resources, and broaden their knowledge of how to support their work. In turn, designers are encouraged to imbue the products with meaning--that then benefits all the people who use them.
Gears 2 & 3 include: Interactive exhibitions with meditation and art workshops. And a public on-line resource that would give people around the world access to wisdom teachings related to spiritual artforms, specific art pieces, and art-making techniques.
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