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Season of Rare Buddhist Arts Presented in London for the Next Three Weeks
Tantric Buddhist Priest Prajwal Ratna Vajracharya as Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara (Dance form: Charya Nritya Tantric Dance of Nepal). Photographs by Andre Elbing

LONDON.- The Many Faces of Buddhism, a series of arts and cultural events drawing on Buddhist cultural traditions, are being presented in London by the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation, from Saturday 25 April to Sunday 17 May to coincide with the opening of The Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation Gallery at the V&A, the first gallery for Buddhist sculpture in the UK.

The programme will include dance, visual arts, talks and films. Amongst the highlights are:

• A Day of Rare Buddhist Dance curated by Joseph Houseal, Executive Director of Core of Culture Dance Preservation based in Chicago, representing Buddhist traditions from Sri Lanka, Japan, Nepal and India at the V&A.

• A two week International Buddhist Film Festival at the Barbican curated by Gaetano Kazuo Maida, Executive Director of The International Buddhist Film Festival (IBFF) and an award-winning filmmaker.

• An International Forum on Buddhism and the Arts Today at the V&A with contributions from contemporary artists from around the world including Lin Hwai-min, choreographer and founder of Cloud Gate Dance Theatre in Taiwan, Meredith Monk, the American composer, singer, choreographer, African-American artist Sanford Biggers and South Korean artist Kimsooja. Jacquelynn Baas, independent scholar and Director Emeritus of the University of California Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive will be moderating the forum.

The Many Faces of Buddhism season will coincide with the opening of the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Gallery at the V&A, the first gallery for Buddhist sculpture in the UK. The new day-lit gallery will display highlights from the V&A’s world class collection of Buddhist sculpture ranging from monumental Chinese temple sculptures to small portable gilded Buddhas and will include rare pieces which will go on display in the Museum for the first time. Around 50 sculptures created by master craftsmen between AD 200 and 1850 will go on shown in the new gallery to explore how the Buddha has been represented in Asian art. The Gallery will tell the story of the life of the Buddha and the spread of Buddhism from India to the other regions of Asia.

The Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation is a Hong Kong based philanthropic organisation committed to fostering Chinese arts and culture. Working towards these goals with global perspective, the Foundation supports arts and Buddhist programmes both in its home base and internationally.

Among the Foundation’s recent activities have been the endowment and naming of the Centre for Buddhist Studies at Stanford University in October 2008; The Dragon’s Gift – The Sacred Arts of Bhutan, a conservation project which includes a major touring exhibition of some of Bhutan’s most sacred Buddhist objects; and support of major exhibitions such as Cai Guo Qiang: I Want to Believe at the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum New York in 2008; and Britain Meets the World at the Palace Museum in Beijing in 2007.

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