Friday, June 17, 2011

Soyolmaa Davaakhuu: Amazing Mongolian Woman Artist

Recently I was looking around for images of the Hindu/Buddhist Goddess Kurukulla, and I came upon the website of the amazing Mongolian artist Soyolmaa Davaakhuu. Wow.

Prints of her gorgeous paintings are available for sale at her ImageKind website (linked to above). In addition, she has also published a book, Deep Knowing: A Woman's Journey in the Buddha Dharma Reflected in the Art of Soyolmaa Davaakhuu. (Scroll down to see a 6 minute video based on the book.)

The following biography is taken directly from her website (linked to above):
Soyolma Davaakhuu’s parents were prominent artists under the Communist regime, who managed to keep their Mongolian cultural and Buddhist art heritage alive to pass on to their talented daughter. Soyolma attended the Ulaan Baatar Fine Arts College and the University of Arts and Culture in Ulaan Baatar, both of which she graduated with honors. She has worked as a professional artist since her graduation in 1998 and has participated in dozens of exhibitions in Mongolia and abroad.

In 2008, Soyolma was named Female Artist of the Year by the Union of Mongolian Artists. The award is especially coveted because the recipient is chosen by the greatest artists in the country.

Soyolma is known for her eclectic approach which includes the traditional Mongolian Buddhist arts such as thangka painting, embroidery, appliqué, temple dance masks and costumes, etc., to contemporary urban expressionism.

Her work, from traditional to surreal, is always transformative, exploring themes of dreaming and awakening, the hidden and revealed, and more often than not, celebrates enlightenment manifest in feminine form.

And here is the description of the Goddess Kurkulla, also taken from the website (here is a link directly to the painting "Woman of Power", depicting the Goddess):
Kurukulle (Kurukulla) is translated in Tibetan as Rigiyedma meaning “She who is the cause of Knowledge”. She is also sometimes called Red Tara. She symbolizes desireless desire and the ability to achieve goals without attachment to outcomes. Her bow symbolizes the aiming for a goal and letting go. She is very popular in Tibetan folk magic as she is pre-eminently the Buddhist deity of enchantment and has the ability to bewitch other beings. Kurukulle may be called upon to exercise her powers of enchantment and bewitchment to subjugate evil spirits, demon and humans working against the welfare of humanity and spiritual evolution. She is often called upon at new beginnings such as the building of monastery, starting a business or other venture to subdue all forces that stands in the way. She represents empowerment of the feminine in a patriarchal milieu.

More than any other figure in the Buddhist pantheon, Kurukulle has becomes the Buddhist goddess of love and sex, corresponding to the Western goddess Venus. In this capability her flower-entwined bow and arrow serves as Cupid bow rather that the huntress Diana seeking a goal. According to the texts Kurukulle embodies perfect and alluring feminine form; she has a beautiful face and voluptuous body. She is red in color signifying enchantment and magnetism. She is single faced because she embodies non-dual wisdom beyond conventional distinctions of good and evil, and naked because she is unconditioned by discursive thoughts. She holds bow and arrow entwined with flowers because she can give rise to thoughts of desire in others minds. Her compassionate activity energetically manifests in both Samsara and Nirvana. She dances, and as she dances, she enchants and subjugates demon of ego. Most modern scholars believe Kurukulla originated in Uddiyana as a tribal goddess and because of her popularity became associated with the Bodhisattva Tara. She has also been adopted by Hinduism.

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