Guanyin, “the one who hears our cries,” has been worshipped for thousands of years in many cultures as a deity of mercy and compassion. The bodhisattva manifests as male or female depending on the person in need. This reinstallation of one of the MIA’s masterpieces was developed by artist Jan Estep as a creative interpretation of Buddhist principles, emphasizing the sculpture’s art-historical importance, engaging its 2,500-year-old religious tradition, and extending its compassionate presence to contemporary audiences.
As part of the reinstallation, Estep has installed meditation pillows with a sound system, which plays phrases adapted by Estep from traditional Buddhist meditations on compassion and loving kindness. She recorded a range of local voices speaking these phrases, literally expressing the compassionate Buddhist spirit of Guanyin and all those who turn to the deity for support.
The artist’s interpretive installation opens up a space for reflection and invites you to more closely experience this sculpture as an object of devotion.
— Christopher Atkins, coordinator of the Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program with Jan Estep, artist and professor of art at the University of Minnesota
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