KOBO Seattle | since 1995

Artist statement:

In Buddhism, the Lotus Flower is a symbol of enlightenment. It grows and blossoms out of a muddy pond. While the Lotus symbolizes enlightenment, the muddy pond represents a symbol of earthly desires. In my artistic endeavor, I intend to express a metaphoric diagram of the muddy pond of earthly desires. It embodies the drama of converting suffering into a state of absolute happiness.

Bosatsu is a Japanese word for “Bodhisattva” originated as a Sanskrit word for a “being who aspires to Buddhahood.” Bosatsu carry out altruistic practices to achieve enlightenment and are compassionate beings who postpone their own entry into Nirvana in order to lead others toward enlightenment. The plump figures, which I call “Chubbies”, are the predominant icons in my art and my visual interpretation of the Bodhisattvas. These Bodhisattvas are struggling and suffering in order to advance to enlightenment while helping others to do the same, in the muddy pond of earthly desires.

I have established a solid identity as a Buddhist, and recognize this as a core heritage of my life. This permeates deep within me; deeper than my nationality, ethnicity, or gender. Through my artistic endeavor, I wish to manifest the true nature of my life: Buddhahood. Ultimately, the purpose of my art is to deliver a positive message that each ordinary being possesses the power to transform one's life and environment for the better, regardless of external circumstances.

More information about Tomoko here <link>

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