Incense offerings, rice paper drawings, and mantra inscriptions by Taiwanese artist Charwei Tsai (蔡佳葳) will debut in New York City as part of "The Power of Intention: Reinventing the (Prayer) Wheel" exhibition running from March 1 through Oct. 14 at the Rubin Museum of Art.
"The Power of Intention" will bring together traditional and contemporary art to illuminate the ties connecting one's intentions and commitments with action. Inspired by concepts derived from the Buddhist prayer wheel — a ritualistic object containing thousands of written prayers and mantras, this group exhibition aims to demonstrate how self-empowerment can induce positive changes within one's self and in others as well.
Tsai's "A Supplication" is a watercolor drawing on rice paper that reimagines the prayer wheel by depicting the Guru Rinpoche mantra dispersing into space from a seed syllable at the center. Prayer wheels contain mantras written on paper that are rolled and inserted into cylindrical containers. When rotated in a clockwise motion, the whirling of each wheel releases the prayers into the world for the benefit of all.
Her second work for the exhibition, "Spiral Incense with Mantra," will be created in a live demonstration of focused and contemplative labor on the opening day. Utilizing three spiral incense units that were made by commission in Taiwan, Tsai will inscribe a set of mantras on the custom-made incense that will then be hung at the gallery for display.
"We may not think of our intentions as sources of power; however, they are the driving force behind each of our actions," explained exhibition curator Elena Pakhoutova. Therefore, a conscious positive action will replace what might have been a habit or mindless act, reinforcing "our individual intentions and spark positive action."
Tsai will be joined by international artists Monika Bravo (Columbia), Alexandra Dementieva (Russia), Youdhistir Maharjan (Nepal), and Scenocosme's Grégory Lasserre & Anaïs met den Ancxt (France).
‘The Power of Intention: Reinventing the (Prayer) Wheel’