OM MANI PADME HUM // DUNEDIN PUBLIC ART GALLERY // 2016
Tiffany Singh has a socially engaged art practice that often manifests in colourful and large-scale installations. Her works draw on a variety of influences that include Eastern and Western spiritual beliefs, ancient culture, Jungian psychology and Modernism. For the Gallery’s ‘Big Wall’ Singh has created a monumental installation. Om Mani Padme Hum blends a spectrum of coloured ribbon printed with the Tibetan Buddhist mantra Om Mani Padme Hum in Tibetan script. These ribbons are adorned with fair-trade bells, signifying Singh’s commitment to supporting cottage industry and her ongoing partnership with rural artisan communities in developing countries. Beyond this, the bell also holds an important place within various Buddhist rituals and offerings around the world. Together, these elements subtly and delicately reflect the intrinsic values of Singh’s practice. The inclusion of colour – a palette that often includes red, magenta, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet – and the relationships and harmonies between those colours play an important role in Singh’s work. In Om Mani Padme Hum, Singh uses the tonal variations to reference the Terra Chakra, a positive flow of energy that grounds us and connects us to the earth (Gaia). The mantra (or prayer) has been used with the permissions given by Geshe Wangchen. When speaking about this mantra, the Dalai Lama of Tibet said:
“The first, OM, is composed of three pure letters, A, U, and M. These symbolize the practitioner's impure body, speech, and mind; they also symbolize the pure exalted body, speech and mind of a Buddha… MANI, meaning jewel, symbolizes the factor of method - the altruistic intention to become enlightened, compassion, and love… The two syllables, PADME, meaning lotus, symbolize wisdom… Purity must be achieved by an indivisible unity of method and wisdom, symbolized by the final syllable, HUM… Thus the six syllables, OM MANI PADME HUM, mean that in dependence on the practice which is in indivisible union of method and wisdom, you can transform your impure body, speech and mind into the pure body, speech, and mind of a Buddha.”
- From a lecture given by His Holiness The Dalai Lama of Tibet at the Kalmuck Mongolian Buddhist Center, New Jersey. Transcribed by Ngawang Tashi (Tsawa), Drepung Loseling, MUNGOD, INDIA.
*The accompanying audio is a recording of the mantra, Om Mani Padme Hum.