Workshop brings out your inner Buddha


A Tokyo-based artist is re-creating a modern-day version of the famed 1,000 Kannon Bodhisattva statues in the Sanjusangendo Hall of Kyoto’s Rengehoin Temple — and you can be part of the process.

The artist, who goes by the name of Tetta, is holding an experiential workshop at Akibatamabi 21, an exhibition space for Tama Art University graduates. Anyone who comes can get a Buddha makeover.

Tetta, who graduated from the college last year with a master’s degree, will first give a short lecture on the four different kinds of Buddhist icons. Then it’s up to you to think up your own Buddha image, pick some accessories and have your face painted.

Tetta will then take a picture of you and edit it to create a symmetric image of your face by flipping the left side of your face onto the right (she will send you an edited picture later).

Tetta says she feels Buddhist statues help people live their lives more happily. She says 90 people have participated so far, from a newborn baby to a 58-year-old.

“[People] say they feel more confident about themselves afterward,” she says. “The (transformation) experience will take a load off your mind. I also want to bring art closer to more people.”

The workshop is being held in Rooms 201 and 202 of 3331 Arts Chiyoda, a former school building in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward that has been turned an art event space. You need to book a slot to participate in the workshop, which is held twice a day from 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The fee is ¥200.

For reservations and inquiries, e-mail office@akibatamabi21.com or call (03) 5812-4558.