Monday, March 21, 2011

Being Punched in the Emotional Junk by the Dalai Lama

Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary by having Thai food and sushi and then hitting the San Antonio Art Museum. This is what we did for our first date many years ago. Lunch was excellent. I had sushi and he had Domino Tofu and we split a spring roll.  The restaurant has a gorgeous water fountain of the Buddha's face so I snapped a pic before we left.

We headed to the art museum. I had brought my camera because I wanted to take some pictures of the Greek and Roman statuary. Once we got there, we decided to view the special exhibit first, The Missing Peace: Artists Consider the Dalai Lama. First off, the exhibit was outstanding. While we enjoy art, we aren't the sort that's spends alot of time studying the pieces but some of the works were stunning and it took us a while to wander through it all. It's starts off with paintings, pictures and other items of his holiness, the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhism. Then, as you continue on there are more Buddhism-inspired abstract works. The theme then shifted and the art works became about change, pain and suffering.

While the entire exhibit was powerful and moving, I ran into one particular piece that really socked me in the heart chakra. The painting is called "Abu Ghraib by" Rupert Garcia. It is based on one of the terrible pictures of the prisoner abuse scandal that came out of the Abu Ghraib prison during the Iraq War. I started to cry when I saw it. As a human being, the things that were done by our countrymen is horrible and as a former soldier my heart aches in shame for what was done by people that wore the same uniform as me.

Oh and one more thing...I served in US Army from 1988 to 1991 and I was stationed in Darmstadt, Germany with the 165th MI Battalion, which was one of the battalions in the 205th MI Brigade. The 205th MI Brigade was directly involved in the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib and has since been disbanded (along with 165th MI Bn). While I nor did anyone I know have anything to do with these atrocities, at the same time I can't help to make it personal. The unit patch that I am wearing in my picture of my myself as a PFC is now a patch of shame.

All of this and more went through my head at the museum yesterday. Both my husband and I were pretty upset so we cut our trip short and skipped the rest of the museum. I came home and worked on an artistic response to what I had seen.

I took the face of Buddha from the fountain picture and put it on a green background of lotus blossoms. I am trying to focus on this image, instead of the one I saw yesterday.