Ceramic process as a reflection of environmental values : a Buddhist perspective

2017-01-13T00:19:44Z (GMT) by Lo, Li-Feng
Many twentieth-century artists have responded to environmental concerns in their work. The issues addressed have often reflected broader community concerns and helped to raise community awareness and alert people to problems. No single work or artist can hope to effect the necessary changes in governmental or corporate policy and practice to make radical improvements in the situation, but the obvious and important aim is to contribute to the discussion. The environmental values that artists bring to, and express, in their art are shaped by a wide variety of experiences and philosophies, but what has not been explored in depth is the complete integration of the Buddhist formulation of these values into an artist’s ideas and work. As a practising artist and Buddhist, deeply concerned about the current state of our environment, I aim to explore and demonstrate how environmental values embedded in Buddhist philosophy can be expressed in my artwork. As Buddhism is a part of who I am, both as a person and artist, there is necessarily an autobiographical element to this research. In the making of my ceramics I respond to the aesthetic qualities of natural forms but in using them as installation pieces as part of a Zen-like garden I aim to express a much deeper level of engagement with nature and the environment. This engagement is informed by an understanding of the human interaction with nature, which in turn, is informed by the Buddhist belief that all living beings share a common journey, that is a lifecycle based on birth, growth, death and rebirth. The way humans respond to and value these lifecycles is implicit in how we interact with nature. I have a deep faith in Buddhist philosophy and believe that an understanding of Buddhism can help one deal with the journey through life and the consequent interaction with nature. Therefore this research is focused on creating a body of artwork that is reflective of a Buddhist understanding of environmental values.