This piece of modern contemporary art may just seem as a giant blow up display of a Buddha in relation to a modern art. However there is much symbolical value to this piece of work that relates back to ancient Buddhist teachings that were taught and practiced in ancient times and continued into today’s modern Buddhism. This piece of work was created by Lewis deSoto, who is located out of California and created this piece of work in symbol to his fathers recent death. After his fathers death he began to imagine his perfect death and was struck upon the relation on what death really means compared to modern society and the way he believes in Nirvana being a Buddhist. DeSoto was over come with the importance of the cycle in life through out time in being born dying and being reborn again. He directly linked this to his Buddha blow up and shows the meaning of life being put back into the world around us in daily life. Every day the fifteen foot Buddha is inflated every morning and at the end of the day it is deflated to show the importance of the cycle of life. The blow up is constantly going through different states everyday, being inflated and reborn and at the end of the day it takes its last breath is deflated going through a complete life cycle to the eye witnesses.
The “religious” aspect of this is it follows the concept of reincarnation. Every day in the Buddhist belief people die and are reborn within the universe created this constant cycle that the blow up takes part in everyday as well. It is all about reaching Nirvana and the displaying of this blow up being a Buddha allows there to be much more of a religious symbolic nature to be put into this moving piece of work. What makes this a religious piece of contemporary art is not that that it is deemed in the display as coming from a Buddhist artist. What makes is religious is the observer. When an individual is observing the Buddha being blown up and deflated and understanding within them the relation of symbolism that it is directly linked to the Buddhist belief that nothing is permanent in this world and we are all apart of an infinite universe that that revolves around karma and the cycle of life, with out the full comprehension of this there is no original virtues of what this religious piece of work is meant to transpire.
The self- identity of this artist as a member of the Buddhist community is directly spoken to the community that there is more to Buddhism than what the average person in Western culture may know. This piece of work never would have been created if deSoto had not been Buddhist, nor if his father would have passed away without him realizing the true order of life in Buddhist culture. For deSoto this is all a well crafted piece of symbolism, but he wants people to know that Buddhism is for all people and a better way to understand the journey trough life. He is a Native American but Buddhist as well and through his work he hopes that the message of true realization is accessible to all.