A permanent art gallery entitled “Walking with Srila Prabhupada – The Path of Perfection” is set to open on August 30th in Malaysia in honor of the 50th anniversary of the ISKCON Founder’s arrival in the U.S.
The gallery will open the day after the long-awaited second and third phases of Penang State’s Temple of Devotion and Understanding, which was first envisioned by Srila Prabhupada himself during a 1971 visit.
“Walking with Srila Prabhupada” will be located on the mezzanine floor of the temple, and was created by the youth group of the Bhaktivedanta Cultural Centre, a separate four storey-building that was finished in 2004 as the first phase of the temple project.
The gallery is the result of a competition in which seventy-five youth, aged 12 to 30 years old, participated. It will depict Srila Prabhupada’s life as well as his visit to Malaysia through a variety of mediums including oil paintings, waxwork, hyperrealistic art, Penang street art, graffiti, dioramas, miniatures, 3D art, vector art and pyrography (burning an image into wood using a heated metallic point). Robotics will also be added in the future.
The gallery will be divided into four sections. The first, “Srila Prabhupada’s room and rooftop Tulasi gardens,” will feature a one-of-a-kind hyperrealistic murti form of Srila Prabhupada, with every wrinkle and hair rendered in exquisite detail. It will also have two beautiful Tulasi gardens, in which there will be Penang street art of Prabhupada chanting and preaching.
“The second section, ‘He built a house in which the whole world can live,’ will be a chronology of the important events in Srila Prabhupada’s life, depicted using dioramas, hyperrealistic art and robotics,” says Bhaktivedanta Cultural Center board member Sangeeta Vani.
She lays out the section in detail: “It will show him during his childhood, meeting his guru Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, establishing the League of Devotees in India, writing and printing the Srimad-Bhagavatam, traveling on the Jaladuta, holding the very first chanting in Thompkins Square Park, and ultimately building a house in which the whole world can live.”
After that, the third section, “Srila Prabhupada in Malaysia” will present Prabhupada’s visit to Malaysia in mini dioramas, graffiti and 3D art .
And finally, “The Hidden Jewel” will show historic evidence of Vedic civilization in South East Asia and particularly Malaysia, as well as how Krishna consciousness was introduced and developed in the country.
The art for the gallery is currently being created, and will be completed by mid-August.
A sample of the Prabhupada art still in progress
“Walking with Srila Prabhupada” will be opened during a three-day festival from Friday August 28th to Sunday August 30th this year along with the second and third phases of the Penang temple project -- the temple building itself, and the multipurpose hall.
On Friday, there will be an Adivas ceremony and Srila Prabhupada stories. On Saturday, the official opening of the temple, deities of Sri Sri Radha Krishna and Prahlad Narasimhadeva will be installed, and there will be an abhisekha ceremony, a kirtan, a spiritual discourse, prasadam and more Prabhupada stories. Finally on Sunday, there will be an abhiseskha for Srila Prabhupada, a tribute to Prabhupada by Bhaktivedanta Cultural Centre youth, the opening of the art gallery, and kirtan and prasadam.
“We are expecting about 2,000 people for the opening of the gallery and 10,000 for the temple opening,” says Sangeeta Vani. “They’ll include members of Malaysia’s Chinese and Indian communities, as well as international devotees from India, Australia, Thailand, Singapore, the Philipines, and Indonesia.”
A long list of ISKCON VIPs have also confirmed their attendance, including Jayapataka Swami, Bhanu Swami, Janananda Goswami, Ramai Swami, Bhakti Purushottam Swami and Deena Bandhu Das.
After its opening, the Prabhupada art gallery will be combined with a Krishna-Lila and Dasavatara exhibition center and auditorium to attract both domestic and international tourists, and is expected to draw three to five hundred people a week.
The opening event poster
“Visitors to the gallery will get to understand the struggle and difficulties Srila Prabhupada went through to bring Krishna consciousness to all of us, and how a pure devotee can leave an everlasting effect on the lives of thousands,” says Sangeeta.
The gallery is also already leaving a deep impression on the youth that are creating it.
“Participating in the competition has deepened their faith in Srila Prabhupada, and got them enthused to serve his and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission,” Sangeeta says. “They are very focused on creating a first class art gallery as an offering to Prabhupada in honor of the 50th anniversary of his arrival in the West. They also realize that it will be an important conveyor of knowledge about Prabhupada’s life to future generations.”[ art ] [ gallery ] [ malaysia ] [ thailand ]