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A special issue on African American artists who are influenced by the practices and philosophies of the East such as Buddhism, Tantra and the Vedanta. The intent of the issue is two-fold:
To explore a seminal topic in cross-cultural studies. This issue is the first project to survey African American visual artists who are interested in Eastern philosophical concepts.
And to serve the readers' own processes of perception of the world arising in awareness. The issue's contributing artists and writers probe questions of the nature of the physical reality, consciousness and the illusion of "race."
Among the several artists featured in this issue are:
Illustrator/philosopher/author Charles Johnson who, in "The Dharma and the Artist's Eye," describes his first meditation experience: "I felt as if I'd been played with a loaded pistol, a powerful tool I could not control because at that time I did not have a teacher."
And installation artist Sanford Biggers whose work links Buddhism and hip hop culture: "In making the connection between with the mandala and floor-based circular rituals of break dancers or the impermanence of the sand mandala to that of graffiti, I found myself making a political statement regarding the need to embrace this urban cultural tradition as scared and ritualized rather than chaotic an insignificant."