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Fetishized Himalaya: Religion, Spirituality, and Death


"The vultures gathered on the mountainside to watch. On the grassy slope below, a Tibetan monk placed the naked corpse of an old woman on a sacred clearing and stepped away to sharpen his knife on the side of a rock. He marched once around an old Buddhist monument, mumbling a prayer, and then he cut her body into pieces."

- The New York Times, 03 July 1999

           You have chosen to explore the fetishization of the Himalaya. This exhibit will explore depictions of religion, spirituality, and death from the perspective of a Himalayan insider and outsider to reveal the nature of the essentialization of Himalayan spiritual life. Death and religion, topics already so subject to abstractions even within our own culture, become perennial loci of fantasy when we encounter them in others' and are thus ideal sites within which we can explore our own assumptions and preconceptions.