Peruvian photographer and performance artist Cecilia Paredes (p. 40) plays the central role in her series “Landscapes,” where boundaries between her body and backdrops all but disappear: “I wrap, cover, or paint my body with the same pattern of the material and represent myself as part of that landscape,” explains Parades. Her last name, Parades, or “walls” in Spanish, is fitting for her uncanny ability to camouflage herself in the walls behind her. In her art she endeavors to communicate a theme of dislocation and the quest to find home.
The scene depicted on this issue’s cover represents the annual ceremony of cleaning the Great Buddha of the Todai-ji Temple in Japan. About 230 people, including priests, clean and dust this fifteen-meter statue, the largest and oldest bronze Buddha in the world. The artist, Okamoto Kiichi (1888–1930), was Japan’s most popular children’s illustrator in the 1920s. This illustration first appeared in the pages of Kodomo no Kuni in 1927.
Mary DeVincentis Herzog’s colorful depictions of Vajrayogini, Tara, and Dorje Drola, which accompany this issue’s Forum, come from a series titled “Miksang” — Tibetan for “good eye,” or pure perception. Employing an unusual combination of opaque watercolor on tea bag paper, and informed by her own meditation practice and study of Tibetan Buddhism, she attempts through her work to evoke a kind of seeing that takes away the filter of the conceptualizing mind.