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Art Show: Saints

Monk, Wat Arun

by Joanna Daneman

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Art: Monk, Wat Arun by Artist Joanna Daneman
The Thai monks own nothing except a bowl, and umbrella and their robe. The robe is saffron orange because women would drape fabric on trees and the monks would find it as alms for their clothing. Thus the color was chosen to stand out among the branches. They eat but once a day, gathering their food in their bowl. What is put in their bowl, they eat. After noon, they fast until the next day. The monks spend their lives educating children and in study and prayer. In past times, the temples also served as morgues to collect the victims of plagues and disasters. The monks are a vivid thread moving quietly but with great authority through the Thai society. The serene expression of this monk caught my eye in Wat Arun in Bangkok, and I painted him cool and calm against the almost incandescent glare of the noon sun in the marble temple.

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