The Five Hundred Arhats were discovered in 2001 among the ruins of the Changnyeongsa temple in Yeongwol, Gangwon-do Province in South Korea and are believed to be 500 years old. In Buddhism, an arhat – or nahan in Korean – is one who has attained enlightenment and these stone figures are thought to depict 500 disciples of Buddha. This exhibition features arhat statues with lifelike expressions, from joy and serenity to anger and sorrow: the gamut of human emotion. Incorporated into an installation created by artist Kim Seung Young made up of 700 audio speakers, the exhibition suggests the arhats are meditating in an attitude of intimate, reclusive poise amidst a cacophony that evokes the distracting bustle of urban life.
Produced in collaboration with the Chuncheon National Museum (Korea) the exhibition will mark the 60th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Korea and Australia and serve as a poignant reminder that each of us is a noble being with the potential to attain enlightenment. Presented in partnership with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Korea and the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea.