Find inspiration this week by visiting the six-part Buddhist altar installed between the columns of Sarah’s Glen on the main campus of Shenandoah University today, Oct. 21; Wednesday, Oct. 23; and Friday, Oct. 25, between 2:10 and 2:40 p.m. (weather permitting). Solo student performances on violin and clarinet will accompany the installation. The altar is the major project for the World Views in Art: The Indian Subcontinent First-Year Seminar (FYS) class.
The class has constructed the six-part Buddhist altar in the Tibetan tradition. The installation of the altar is meant to elicit comments, meditations and ideas from passersby and from other FYS classes that stop by and contribute. Contributions may include, but are not limited to, personal meditations, ideas for peace studies, ideas for peace activism, descriptive essays and prayers. These may be composed on-site or emailed to Associate Professor of Art History and Art Geraldine Kiefer, Ph.D., at [email protected]. The group hopes this project will bring a multitude of faiths and ethnicities to embrace peace.
“The purpose of the FYS Buddha Altar Project is to instill in ourselves, our classmates, our faculty and the Shenandoah University community a sense of calm, meditation, transcendence of self and devotion to others, in the tradition of the Buddha and his teachings and in the line of the contemporary neighborhood peace project in Chicago, Ten Thousand Ripples,” said Dr. Kiefer.
To create their portion of the altar, five groups of students worked with a Buddha head designed by an Indian artist, as well as Indian stupa (shrine) postcards, Tibetan Buddhist posters and artifacts the groups created. These additional artifacts include, but are not limited to, drawings, paintings, contemplative photographs, coloring-book pictures and offerings (dried fruit, artificial flowers and bowls of water). The Buddha heads are tinted with watercolors.
A sixth altar, coordinated by Kiefer, features a Buddha statue fabricated by hand in India and a miniature stupa. That altar space will include a Buddhist cloth and two watercolor-paper sketchbooks for students in the class and others to make comments and suggestions.
The entire project will also be installed in the Brandt Student Center (BSC) during FYS Display Day, slated Monday, Nov. 11. This installation will also provide time and space for visitors to inscribe their thoughts in the sketchbooks. Buddhist chants will be playing and silence will be urged.
Questions or comments about the project may be directed to Kiefer at 540/545-7323 or [email protected].