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SANGHA: An Installation by Kathryn Walker Opens July 22

July 19, 2011

Buffalo, NY – A stunning new installation by the artist Kathryn Walker will open in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s Gallery for Small Sculpture. SANGHA is composed of more than one thousand miniature terracotta pots, each carefully painted and collaged by the artist. Finished in an array of patinas and textures, each work in the installation contains a fragment of a Tibetan prayer flag embedded in the surface. The installation evokes concepts of refuge, consciousness, and community—ideas at the core of human survival and civilization. 

Small earthenware pots are as old as civilization itself. The invention of clay pottery allowed for the preservation of essentials, enabling early communities to survive and flourish. For this installation, the artist used unglazed earthen pots from Mexico, each one individual in shape. The addition of a Tibetan prayer flag fragment to each pot is a gesture that evokes the long tradition in Tibet of making “treasure vases”—small decorated jars filled with talismans and sacred stones that are sealed and buried to bless and protect the earth and its beings—while simultaneously symbolizing spiritual generosity. 

Sangha is a Sanskrit word literally meaning “group.” The entire installation of more than one thousand pots, which are fascinating to explore individually, quietly comments on ideas of individuality and community. SANGHA is part of a larger series of Walker’s work from the past few years. Speaking about the installation, Gallery Director Louis Grachos said, “Walker has created a powerful installation that I think our visitors will find visually engaging. This contemporary work that begins with ancient forms invites discussion of our modern society and our notions of community and diversity.” 

Kathyrn Walker is an artist living and working in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her work is in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Davis Museum and Cultural Center at Wellesley College. She is a published author and an accomplished actress. She is a graduate of Wells College and Harvard University. SANGHA will remain on view through September 25.