Images of Tantra, by Robert Powell

Vibrant and accessible series of acrylic paintings explores the imagery behind Tantra, a complex tradition which is often misrepresented in the West. The collection explores the essence of Tantric symbolism from an artist’s perspective, inviting us to discover a beautiful, multi-layered philosophy with ancient roots in early Hinduism and village Goddess worship. As well as permeating most aspects of Hinduism, it profoundly influenced the development of Buddhism and Jainism. The Newar culture of Nepal retains many Tantric traditions. Tibetan Buddhism, like that of China, Japan and Korea is Tantric Budhhism. Even Daoism and Japanese Shinto have elements of Tantra.

Though the popularised western version focuses on the physical, Tantra is actually a means to restructure the internal. The essential aim of the practice is the dissolution of duality; male and female, good and bad, life and death, pure and impure. When we overcome these illusions, we can find awareness that all opposites are, in fact, contained within the same universal consciousness.  

The artist, Robert Powell, is the architect of Kamalaya. He is instinctively drawn to basic, strong images with distinct forms. With this collection, he uses the symbolism that is so rich in Tantra. Throughout the collection there are recurring shapes; downward-facing triangles are the yoni, representing the Goddess, female energy and the creative power of nature. The egg-shapes represent the lingam, male energy and potential, the fossilised shells that represent Vishnu and the power of regeneration. The spirals depicting the shaligram also represent the female serpent energy which lays coiled at the base of the spine, waiting to be roused by the adept.

The exhibition marks Powell’s first foray into acrylic painting. He experiments with colour and shape to create these striking, spiritual pieces. Usually displayed in some of Kamalaya’s villas, this is a rare opportunity to see the artwork, meet the artist and hear his stories, and purchase both originals and signed prints of the collection. The 24-piece collection is made up of both stand-alone pieces and several series, each with a compelling Tantric story behind them. In addition on the same theme, a new series of original artworks and some limited edition paint will be exhibited.

About the artist:
Robert Powell is an Australian-born (1948) architect and artist who moved to India in 1974. Over the years, he has lived and worked in the Himalayas in Nepal, India and Pakistan, as well as in China, Japan and Thailand. He has spent his life studying Asian cultures and their architectural traditions. His paintings have been exhibited in galleries around the world, including Paris, London, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Kyoto, New York, Washington DC, Kathmandu. His work has been the focus of major museum shows in the Smithsonian’s Asian Art Gallery, Washington D.C., the Zurich Ethnographic Museum, and the Royal Patan Palace Museum in Nepal. His paintings are also the subject of two books and numerous articles, reviews, and commentaries.



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