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Outer Kora, Kailash Series 2019/20
oil & incision on fresco plaster
80 x 100 cm
Postcard from the Roof of the World
“We seem to be riding on the bones of the earth, elevated above the soft body of the world. It is easy to understand how pilgrims, walking overland for weeks or months, feel they are approaching the centre of the universe.” Galen Rowell
High up in the clear thin air of The Tibetan Plateau, six great rivers begin their journey into South Asia, spawning thousands of tributaries on their way to the sea. Four of these have their headwaters at Mt Kailash in Tibet’s southwest. Over 1.5 billion people live directly downstream.
For Buddhists, Hindus, Jains and Bonpos, Kailash is a sacred peak, a living deity, possessed of immense spiritual power, and so they go there to undertake the Kora, holy circumambulations believed to cleanse the soul and lead to enlightenment.
The plateau is melting, in some places up to ten times faster than the poles. It would seem that research into the climate dynamics of the region increasingly aligns with the centuries old practice of reverence for the silver mountain, as the navel of the world and the source of all life.
This series of works is drawn from places along the pilgrimage route to Kailash. The plaster surface of the paintings is made from marble dust and limestone putty, echoing the means of decorating the walls of monasteries using the materials at hand. The slow tracing of the granite face of the mountain into the plaster by dot and scratch, is, in itself, born of a devotional impulse.
— Sarah Tomasetti 2018
Courtesy the artist and Australian Galleries
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