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Using Michangelo's 'Creation of Adam' as a metaphorical anchor, Ketna Patel has composed a contemporary re-interpretation between God and mankind. Under the invisible but ever watchful eye of the Divine (represented here by Lord Buddha), the composition is showing two protagonists of modern Asia in symbolic positions. India is represented by a bare chested Mahatma Gandhi, who is vulnerable in his defencelessness as he is lying down on his back. China, on the other hand (represented by Mao) is in a threatening standing position, therefore having the upper hand. India is (naiively?) sending out celebrationary musical parties on horseback. China, on the other hand has its army tanks on standby. How is one to interpret the outcome of this snapshot? Could this moment be the creation of war, or would it indeed be the creation of peace? We do not know what the future holds.

Background: For the longest time, this region has been claimed by the spiritual and the politicized. It is a place of worship, but unfortunately also one of exploitation.

(THE MINERAL resources of Tibet are high in quality and rich in quantity and variety. This fact had been known to Tibetans for several centuries, yet they did not exploit the resources for economic gain or for any development mainly due to their profound adherence to the principle of harmony between man and nature. Today there are more than 126 identified minerals in Tibet with significant reserves of the world’s deposits of uranium, chromite, boron, lithium, borax, and iron).

Inspired by many travels in the Himalayas, Ketna was in particular very moved by Dharamshala, a town in the mountainous state of Himachal Pradesh. This is one of the biggest Tibetan towns in India, and has become the headquarters of the Tibetan government in exile. From here, they hold daily vigil; the town is full of billboards and murmurings of political activism. The Dalai Lama has continually expressed his gratitude to India for their care and support. After her long stay in this area, Ketna has composed several paintings on this subject.

Compositional notes: As a homage to the sacrifice and turbulent history of Tibet, this painting has been rendered using the dominant palette of red and saffron. These also hark to the beautiful Thangka paintings of Tibet, which have inspired the artist tremendously. Compositionally, The Sun's life giving energy, emanating from Lord Buddha's holy halo is trickling into the bottom half of the composition, culminating in a mountain of orange red. This symbolizes the sacrifices of the Tibetan people in exchange for the considerable amount of extracted minerals. Red, yellow and saffron are also the colour of Tibetan robes.