Northwest artist Marita Dingus, inspired by a 60-foot tall standing Buddha that she saw in Beijing in 1995, made Buddha as an African Enslaved, in Texas, where she was researching the history of American slavery. When Dingus installed the piece sideways in an art gallery, her black Buddha, compressed between ceiling and floor, recalled old diagrams of slave ships, which showed “human cargo stacked like books on a shelf.” Dingus then added long tresses of hair that she made of fabric chains. This Buddha is a monument to endurance. Its overwhelming scale and non-aggressive demeanor suggest the moral force of non-violence as preached by Buddha, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
On view in the Northwest Gallery through January 12, 2014. Loan courtesy of the Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, WA.