Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Advertisements
Advertisements

Creative spirituality framed in film

Every once in a great while, you stumble upon something that makes your heart smile. Very rarely is that reason because of a documentary. “Creating Buddhas: The Making and Meaning of Fabric Thangkas” is an unexpected film that will leave you with a sense of peace and happiness.

“Creating Buddhas” is a documentary following Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo, a Western woman who brings spirituality to Tibetan Buddhists in the form of hand-made appliqu? thangkas. It was shown as part of the World Music Festival, which has performances scheduled in the Union Theater and on the Terrace until Saturday.

Fabric thangkas are physical manifestations of enlightenment. They are hand embroidered, are usually quite large, and take a long time to complete. The art of appliqu? thangka may only be learned through an apprenticeship with an experienced Tibetan artist. The art form is rare, and there are only a handful of people who know how to correctly create a thangka. This documentary tells the unusual story of how Rinchen-Wongmo stumbled across this unique art form.

Advertisements
creating-buddhas-poster.jpg

Rinchen-Wongmo only planned to stay in India for a few months. She ended up staying for over a year, and the experience changed her life. She discovered the art of thangka making, and decided she wanted to learn how to create them. Leslie is now one the world’s few thangka makers, and one of the most talented. She embraces the art form, religion and all, and shares her enlightenment with others through her art.

Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, the film’s director and producer, has a similar ambition. She is a UW-Madison graduate student specializing in textile history, with an emphasis on spiritual and religious textiles. She shares her passion for textiles through the art of storytelling. Isadora owns the production company, Soulful Media, which has produced 10 films with similar overlying themes of spirituality and textiles.

“Creating Buddhas” does a wonderful job of telling Rinchen-Wongmo’s story. The film interviews another Thangka artist as well as Buddhist monks and historians who specialize in Tibetan Buddhism. By including a range of interviews, the viewer is able to grasp a real sense of the importance of Rinchen-Wongmo ‘s art, and helps to convey an understanding of the significance of the thangka in the Buddhist religion.

“Creating Buddhas” follows Rinchen-Wongmo’s progress on a thangka which features the female Buddha, Tara. Showcasing the female Buddha helps strengthen the films theme of feminine empowerment. In the traditional, male-dominated culture of the Eastern World, Rinchen-Wongmo breaks through the barriers and exemplifies strength and enlightenment, regardless of gender.

This film is definitely worth a look. It is a cultural experience that will open your mind to other parts of the world, and other lifestyle choices within our own country. Take a moment, sit down, and enjoy something different.

Advertisements
Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *