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Taloi Havini: Reclaiming Space and History Latest Ocula Conversation
In Partnership with Artspace Sydney
Taloi Havini: Reclaiming Space and History By Ruth McDougall, Sydney

Artist Taloi Havini and Ruth McDougall, curator of Pacific art at Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art, discuss Havini's first Australian solo exhibition, Reclamation .

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Sydney Biennale Connects Here with Everywhere Latest Ocula Report Sydney Biennale Connects Here with Everywhere By Soo-Min Shim, Sydney

'This year's Biennale of Sydney seems like a corrective,' writes Soo-Min Shim, 'prioritising autonomy in an international exhibition format that has all too often omitted or sidelined First Nations artists.'

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Hell is a Place on Earth: P·P·O·W Looks to History in Context of Covid-19 Ocula Insight Hell is a Place on Earth: P·P·O·W Looks to History in Context of Covid-19 By Stephanie Bailey, London

In the United States, parallels have been drawn between the HIV/AIDS crisis and what is unfolding with Covid-19. These connections feed into P·P·O·W's online exhibition, Hell is a Place on Earth. Heaven is a Place in Your Head .

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HomePage Artists

b. 1961, Tibet

Gonkar Gyatso Biography

Gonkar Gyatso is known for his colourful collages of found stickers, logos and images that irreverently merge popular culture's iconography with symbols of Buddhist spiritualism. Working across collage, photography, painting and installation, his work charts the ways identities shift in relation to globalisation and migration. Playfully subverting stereotypes of Tibetan culture while reflecting on the popularity of commercial Buddhism in the West, Gyatso considers the hybrid condition of living between cultures.

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Born in 1961 in Lhasa, Tibet, Gyatso was the son of a Peoples Liberation Army soldier during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, which saw widespread censorship of art forms that did not adhere to a strict ideological programme. In his early 20s, Gyatso studied traditional Chinese brush painting in Beijing. Following his studies, he decided to travel to Dharamshala, India, to learn thangka—a traditional style of Tibetan painting. This became a turning point for his practice as he began to engage with themes of identity and cultural shapeshifting. In 1984, he moved back to Tibet where he founded the first iteration of Sweet Tea House—the first Tibetan avantgarde artists' association—in Lhasa.

In 1996, Gyatso moved to London on a scholarship to study fine art at Chelsea College of Arts. His subsequent engagement with the city and its art world expanded his focus beyond Tibet-China relations to engage with broader issues like global capitalism, excess and the human impacts of war. In 2003, he established Sweet Tea House in London as a space to present contemporary Tibetan art. In the same year, Gyatso received a Leverhelm Fellowship and undertook a residency at Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford.

One of Gyatso's first photographic series, 'My Identity' (2003), depicts the artist across four different periods of his life, from a traditional Tibetan artist to an artist in exile in London. In each photograph, the artist is pictured painting in a different style according to his cultural and geographic location—from traditional Tibetan thangka to modern abstraction.

In 2004, Gyatso's practice took a radical turn as he began to experiment with collage and new forms of visual language. In The religion question (2004), Gyatso used quotations from Mao Zedong to make up the figure of the Buddha. From there, collage and popular culture became key elements of his practice. The series 'Tibetan Idol' (2006) depicts the Buddha rendered from stickers of cartoons, corporate logos, Chinese characters and other facets of the everyday world and popular culture.

By 2007, Gyatso had become recognised for his stickered collages. At the same time, he was becoming more concerned with politics, particularly the Iraq War. His most strikingly political work, Angel (2007), transforms the sitting Buddha into the figure of a tortured Abu Ghraib prisoner. The image of the prisoner is appropriated from the now-iconic media image of a hooded prisoner wired to an electric-shock torture device. Angel reveals the extent of abuse by United States soldiers and seeks to comfort the figure by placing him in front of the Buddhist deity of compassion.

Gyatso participated in Making Worlds—the 53rd Venice Biennale (2009)—with one of his most recognised works, The Shambala in Modern Times (2008), which depicts the Buddha surrounded by the halo of traditional Tibetan thangka. The reproduction and re-appropriation of the Buddha has continued to play out through Gyatso's practice, transforming the figure of the Buddha into three-dimensional sculptures clad in his signature sticker collage.

Gyatso has returned to photography and self-portraiture in recent years, exploring identity and hybridity through himself and the people close to him. He was included in the Encounters sector at Art Basel in Hong Kong (2017) where he presented the installation Family Album, in which life size cut-outs showed members of his own family clothed in both traditional and modern dress, revealing the complexity of identity in contemporary Tibetan culture.

Elyse Goldfinch | Ocula | 2018

Gonkar Gyatso Featured Artworks

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Golden Wheel by Gonkar Gyatso contemporary artwork
Gonkar GyatsoGolden Wheel, 2011Polyurethane, paint, graphite, collage and stickers
48 x 36 x 27 inches
Beyer Projects Enquire about this work
No Love Buddha by Gonkar Gyatso contemporary artwork
Gonkar GyatsoNo Love Buddha, 2011Polyurethane, paint, graphite, collage and stickers
48 x 36 x 27 inches
Beyer Projects Enquire about this work
Victory Banner by Gonkar Gyatso contemporary artwork
Gonkar GyatsoVictory Banner, 2011Polyurethane, paint, graphite, collage and stickers
48 x 36 x 27 inches
Beyer Projects Enquire about this work
Wisdom of Sustainability by Gonkar Gyatso contemporary artwork
Gonkar GyatsoWisdom of Sustainability, 2013Acrylic, paper collage, stickers, pencil, marker and resin on aluminium-backed honeycomb panel
60 x 40 x 2 inches
Beyer Projects Enquire about this work
Untitled 無題 by Gonkar Gyatso contemporary artwork
Gonkar GyatsoUntitled 無題, 2007Mixed media collage, ink and pencil on fine art paper
90 x 72 cm
Pearl Lam Galleries Enquire about this work
Shangri La 香格里拉 by Gonkar Gyatso contemporary artwork
Gonkar GyatsoShangri La 香格里拉, 2014Mixed media collage, acrylic, pencil and Dibond on aluminium honeycomb panel
304.8 x 304.8 cm
Pearl Lam Galleries Enquire about this work
13,472 Prayers  13,472個禱告 by Gonkar Gyatso contemporary artwork
Gonkar Gyatso13,472 Prayers 13,472個禱告, 2015Stickers, oil markers and pencil on treated fine art paper
154 x 154 cm
Pearl Lam Galleries Enquire about this work
Untitled by Gonkar Gyatso contemporary artwork
Gonkar GyatsoUntitled, 2012Mixed media collage and pencil on resin cast sculpture
40.6 x 45.7 x 30.5 cm
Pearl Lam Galleries Enquire about this work

Gonkar Gyatso Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Absorption as a Way of Seeing 凝觀 at Pearl Lam Galleries, Hong Kong
Closed
27 August–10 September 2018 Group Exhibition Absorption as a Way of Seeing 凝觀 Pearl Lam Galleries, Pedder Street, Hong Kong
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Quotidian at Pearl Lam Galleries, Shanghai
Closed
18 January–12 March 2017 Group Exhibition Quotidian Pearl Lam Galleries, Shanghai
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Labyrinth(s) at Pearl Lam Galleries, Hong Kong
Closed
14 July–13 September 2016 Group Exhibition Labyrinth(s) Pearl Lam Galleries, Pedder Street, Hong Kong

Gonkar Gyatso Represented By

Gonkar Gyatso In Ocula Magazine

Hong Kong Autumn Exhibitions 2014: Walls, Landscapes And Dames Ocula Report Hong Kong Autumn Exhibitions 2014: Walls, Landscapes And Dames By Diana d'Arenberg, Hong Kong

Hong Kong seems to be growing out of its love affair with big brand artists, some of which have had about as much appeal as a vagazzler—overexposed, brash, bling. Gone are the dot paintings and Swarovski skulls, and Maos, as the city transitions to a deeper engagement with more challenging and engaging art.

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Gonkar Gyatso In Related Press

In pictures: Encounters at Art Basel in Hong Kong Related Press In pictures: Encounters at Art Basel in Hong Kong 24 March 2017, The Art Newspaper

Space is paramount in the Encounters section of Art Basel in Hong Kong, where each large-scale installation occupies up to 100 square metres. But time is equally important to Alexie Glass-Kantor, the curator of Encounters for the third year running.

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10 Contemporary Tibetan Artists and Where to Find Them Related Press 10 Contemporary Tibetan Artists and Where to Find Them 3 April 2015, The Culture Trip

Renowned for its spiritual values as the home of the Dalai Lama, and for the decades-long dispute with China’s political control, Tibet is a complex land with a diaspora peppered across the globe. While many artists have relocated, an increasingly vibrant, innovative and experimental art scene is growing in Lhasa. Whether at home or abroad...

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Gonkar Gyatso At Pearl Lam Galleries, Hong Kong Related Press Gonkar Gyatso At Pearl Lam Galleries, Hong Kong 3 October 2014, Art Radar / 26 September 2014

Pearl Lam Galleries in Hong Kong is holding Gonkar Gyatso‘s solo exhibition, entitled Pop Phraseology , from 18 September to 31 October 2014. The show includes older and recent works by the renowned New York-based Tibetan artist, whose practice takes inspiration from diverse sources like western street and popular culture and Chinese and...

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