Art Gallery — 24 May 2011

A slideshow of Rashid’s sleeping buddhas

The Face Behind the Face (18)

The Face Behind the Face (18)

The Face Behind the Face (31)

The Face Behind the Face (31)

The Face Behind the Face (41)

The Face Behind the Face (41)

The Face Behind the Face (48)

The Face Behind the Face (48)

The Face Behind the Face (50)

The Face Behind the Face (50)


Once long ago, for a vivid afternoon, I understood the Buddha’s words: “When I became enlightened, the world became enlightened.”

Now, with the benefit of thirty years of meditation, I make this set of prints to consummate that insight: all of us are sleeping buddhas waiting for the raw alarm call of this life to haul us back to wakefulness.

As part of our survival kit, the human eye is fine-tuned to the reading of faces. For the artist, drawing human faces is a deep disturbance and incitement. We are exploring at the very borders of our eyes and hands.

On the surface of a face there’s always change and every face is weathered by the woes and blessings of that life. I’m looking for the sea bed of a true identity; I am un-mooring faces from the bondage of their veering personality. The word ‘personality’ comes from the ancient Greek word for the mask (per-sona) through which their actors spoke. These pen and wash and pencil drawings are to find what is not seen and never changes. We are not who we think we are.

I have drawn the faces, pure and simple, of enlightened ones, of people on the underground, of friends and country innocents and grandchildren and old people. For months there has been no other focus to my life. I waited for the movement of my pen as a chess piece waits the guidance of a hand.

Immortal Self is everywhere, shining forth from all beings.
Mundaka Upanishad

Text by Rashid Maxwell, 2011


Rashid

Rashid’s life began when he took sannyas. In Pune 1 he worked growing vegetables for the master-gardener. On the Ranch he spent a lot of time in the pot-room and the fire tower. In Pune 2, till the Master left the body, he was a bodyguard, an editor and all jobs in between. Now he lives in Devon with Nisheetha, keeps bees, paints and makes prints, designs buildings and landscapes for sacred use, has published two volumes of poetry,  grows his own vegetables and hangs out with a tribe of grandchildren. Or sits around doing nothing.

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