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Zen Art and Culture will be on exhibit at the Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville January 29 through March 28. The exhibition of traditional and modern sculptures, prints and ceramics explores the relationship between Zen ideas and artistic practice in Japan. Student curators Chase Cohen, Russell Gullette, Injoo Han and David Ng will give guided tours of Zen Art and Culture from 3 to 3:45 p.m. on Thursday, January 29. An opening reception will be held that day from 3:45 to 4:30 p.m. It is open to the public and free of charge.
Zen Art and Culture attempts to emulate aspects of the Zen aesthetic through the exhibition and arrangement of pieces, drawn from the museum’s permanent collection or on loan. The exhibit’s unifying theme is the Zen concept of “the beginner’s mind.” The beginner’s mind refers to the Zen manner of viewing objects with an uncontextualized perspective, thus allowing one to find and appreciate the essence of each individual piece. Zen Buddhist religious and philosophical thought has influenced many of the traditional Japanese arts, including painting, calligraphy, garden design, tea ceremony and Noh drama.
The exhibit is organized by students in Colby’s January Program class Asian Museum Workshop: Zen Art and Culture, taught by Ankeney Weitz, assistant professor of art and East Asian studies. Funding for Zen Art and Culture is provided by the Freeman Foundation.
Several events will be held at the museum in conjunction with Zen Art and Culture. Tuesday, February 17, at 2:30 p.m. Japanese Buddhist woodcarver Naoki Eri will present the lecture “Uchideshi no michi: The Disciple’s Path.” Thursday, February 19, at 2:30 p.m. Ikebana master Akiyoshi Kida will present the Japanese flower arranging demonstration “Hana asobi: Flower Play.” Thursday, February 26, at 7 p.m. James Nyoraku Schlefer, a master of the Japanese bamboo flute the shakuhachi, will present the lecture and performance “Music and Zen.”
Colby museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free, and the museum is accessible to persons with disabilities. For more information call 207-872-3228 or visit www.colby.edu/museum.