Dalai Lama Exhibit at FIU Opens as Obama Shuns Spiritual Leader

Categories: Art, Culture
Fleury_LR.jpg
The Dalai Lama's Shoes, 2005, Kirlian photograph, 40 x 40 inches.
When "The Missing Peace: Artists Consider the Dalai Lama" opens this Friday night at the Frost Art Museum, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate won't be in town for a swig of the complimentary Chablis.

"We tried to get him to come for the exhibit, but he wasn't able to," says Jessica Delgado, the museum's communications and marketing manager. "But we do have his shoes on display," she laughs.

Swiss artist Sylvie Fleury used a process called Kirlian photography to "capture the energy field" emanating from the spiritual leader's kicks on view at the Frost.

The upcoming exhibit was organized by the Committee of 100 for Tibet and the Dalai Lama Foundation to explore art as a medium for inspiring visitors to pursue peace in their individual lives and in their communities. More than 40 works by artists ranging from blue-chip talent such as Chuck Close, Laurie Anderson, Bill Viola, Jenny Holzer, Anish Kapoor, and Marina Abramovic to actor Richard Gere have been corralled for the show.

But Gere, a practicing Buddhist and an active supporter of the Dalai Lama, must be swallowing his tongue in the wake of the news coming from the White House today.

President Obama has postponed a scheduled meeting with the shepherd of Tibet's Buddhists until after he visits Chinese President Hu Jintao in Beijing next month. The prez, who might still be reeling over his hometown losing the bid for the 2016 Olympics, is getting raked over the coals for shunning the Dalai Lama.

Obama is facing criticism that he cracked under Chinese pressure as the Dalai Lama opened his first visit to Washington in nearly two decades without a presidential meeting. Homegrown gasbag Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, quickly jumped into the fray, issuing a statement that the United States is "kowtowing" to Beijing by not meeting with the Tibetan monk.

It marks the first time since 1991, when the Dalai Lama held his first presidential meeting with George H. W. Bush, that the White House has declined talks with the Nobel laureate. Surely, all involved could benefit by giving peace a chance at the foot of Lewis Soto's soothing gigantic inflatable blue Buddha titled Paranirvana while enjoying some lovely wine and cheese at the Frost this weekend.
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