Ar. Swanzal Kak Kapoor in collaboration with Artist Umika Mediratta created an Installation “Dvaara: Vihaara”, expressing the Buddhist concept of the innate potential that each of us possesses to manifest the life condition of the Buddha.
The eye-catching installation articulates the philosophical gaze on the reality of each moment in life being a point of transition and a possible portal to an experiential shift. The state of unshakable happiness can be likened to true love as described by Thich Nhat Hanh. The four Brahma vihaaras or elements of love explained through the beautiful paintings on sleeper wood are: Maitreyi, Mudita, Karuna and Upeksha. A vihara is an abode or a dwelling place. Love in Sanskrit is maitri; Compassion is karuna. Joy is mudita. Equanimity is upeksha. The Brahma viharas are called “immeasurable,” because when practiced, they grow until they embrace the whole world. It further explains that we can each access this blissful state through the Dvaara of our choosing, but a lasting happiness often eludes us. This cyclical journey, as we manifest multiple worlds as we transition through life, is Dvaara: Vihaara...the door and the abode.
The conceptualization is expressed through the form of a mandala. Mandala is derived from the root words essence (Manda) and container (la), and is a tool for focusing attention and establishing a sacred space. It is an external expression to find the universe within. The circle in the centre is a symbol of wholeness and a connection to the universe. It also represents the oneness and unity that is at the heart of the transcendental experience.
Artist Umika is trained in the thangka tradition has painted each door to visualise each quality.This installation inverts ideas of resource/waste by comprising almost entirely of recycled or reusable materials: railway sleeper wood, stone waste, gravel, sand, steel flats, and acrylic.
The sawdust produced from sanding the wood becomes part of the transparent acrylic walls of the Vihaara. Visitors are encouraged to fill the walls, with mindfulness, as a collaborative act such that the space too, is transformed by the experience of 'seeing'.