For a short period, the Saatchi Gallery has been transformed into a temple with not just one, but a series of Buddhas. Each one of them has been “dressed up” into somewhat inappropriate attire, symbolizing the obsessive consumerist society we live in. From recognizable brands to modern-day icons to symbols instantly recognized by the millennials, the Buddhas silently, without judgement, point out how engrossed we all are into disconnecting from our spiritual selves and consuming more and more physical and digital content.
Renowned London-based artist Olga Lomaka is presenting her latest exhibition, Artefacts. The leitmotif of the Artefacts is the clash of contemporary western and ancient eastern civilizations. It contrasts the principles of consumer society, its cultural and technological obsession, with the peacefulness and profoundness of Buddhism, the major religion of the east.
‘The project is ambiguous: I do not expect the viewer to make a choice, or to draw any dichotomies between cultures and notions,’ says Lomaka. Artefacts is a collision of tradition and spiritualism with what most of us see as being important here and now—the latest gadget, the latest trend. ‘I believe that only a harmonious balancing of these two attitudes can propel us out of the current “confrontation” between them. The wisdom of traditional past will help us advance on the path of our spiritual evolution,’ adds the artist.
The concept of Artefacts may have surprised many but it certainly didn’t make the guests of Saatchi Gallery leave without questioning their values. Some of the Buddhas have travelled with Olga Lomaka to the prestigious Art Monaco fair where the she has been granted the Best Artist award. Some of the other Buddhas, including Fashion Guru, Miss Universe and Super Buddha were chosen to represent the artist at the Biennale of Contemporary Art in Firenze in 2017, where you could view them and ponder what is important to you. After all, there is never a wrong time to question your beliefs, right?—Elina Lukas, Correspondent
ValmonS Photography, Erik Erxon, Deivydas Lekavicius