Miya Ando, an American post-minimalist artist in New York City, reached out to the Tibetan Nuns Project earlier this year and offered to create a special series of paintings to support the nuns.
The result of this incredible act of compassion in action is as series of 5 paintings called “Prayer Flags” that will be auctioned through the online auction house Paddle8 starting today, August 9th and closing on August 23rd. 100% of the proceeds of the sale of the paintings, after the small fees from the auction house, will be donated by the artist to the Tibetan Nuns Project. View the online auction at http://paddle8.com/auctions/tibetan.
The paintings are extra special because they glow. “I painted the backs of the paintings with phosphorescence so they absorb light during the day and at night emit a soft glow for 5 hours, like a soft halo or aura,” says Miya.
Miya is of half-Japanese and half-Russian heritage and is a descendent of Bizen sword maker Ando Yoshiro Masakatsu. She was raised in a Buddhist temple in Okayama, Japan by sword smiths-turned Buddhist priests and later in the redwoods of Santa Cruz, California. After graduating from UC Berkeley with a degree in East Asian Studies, Ando attended Yale University to study Buddhist iconography and imagery before apprenticing at the Hattori Studio in Japan.
Prayer flags are an iconic symbol of Tibet. Traditionally, prayer flags come in sets of five, arranged from left to right in a specific order: blue, white, red, green, and yellow. The five colors represent the elements and the Five Pure Lights.
Traditionally, prayer flags are used to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. Tibetans believe the prayers and mantras will be blown by the wind to spread the good will and compassion into all pervading space, bringing benefit to all.
Miya said, “It’s a great honor to bring attention and funding and support to the Tibetan Nuns Project. It is my belief that as a human being it is my responsibility to support others.”
Miya’s work is has been exhibited extensively throughout the world, including a recent show curated by Guggenheim curator Nat Trotman. Miya’s public commissions include projects in South Korea, London, New York and California. Her work appears in many important public and private collections and she is the recipient of the Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant in 2012, the Thanatopolis Special Artist Award and Public Outdoor Commission Winner and Puffin Foundation Grant winner.
This is not the first Buddhist-themed series that Miya has created. In 2009, Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society commissioned Miya’s piece, “8-Fold Path,” which consists of a grid of four steel square canvases measuring 4 feet each. The work was featured in Shambhala Sun’s July 2009 issue for its “meditative” nature and “spiritual” influence.
Also in 2009, Miya created Fiat Lux (Let There Be Light), a grid of 144 individual 5″ x 5″ steel canvasses for the meditation room in Brooklyn’s St. John’s Bread and Life Chapel. Miya was next commissioned by The Healing Place Non Denominational Chapel to produce an installation for its women’s facility which resulted in her 40-foot, phosphorescent-coated steel piece, Shelter[Meditation 1-2], which collects sunlight during the day and radiates blue at night.
One of Miya’s most recent installations commemorates the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks on New York City’s Twin Towers. Commissioned by the 9/11 London Project Foundation as a temporary addition to Potters Fields Park in London, England, Ando’s sculpture stands 8 meters tall and is crafted from polished World-Trade-Center steel.
The online auction closes on August 23rd, 2013 so don’t let this opportunity pass!