I made this a couple of months ago fairly swiftly, at a time when a difficult health situation was still very much in a mystery phase, with one of the potential outcomes being cancer. It’s been a very painful and uncomfortable few months, which it looks like surgery will sort out some time fairly soon.
I was listening to ‘Tales from the Bardo’, a favourite album by Laurie Anderson, Tenzin Choegyal and Jesse Paris Smith, regularly at the time I made this, and pondering on life and death a lot, and this is one of the pieces of work that came out of that time.
In Tibetan Buddhism, the ‘bardo’ is essentially the intermediate stage between physical death and rebirth into a new life.
It feels like quite a joyous and resolute picture to me, positive and quite well balanced in the dark and the light, which is how I’ve felt most of the time this health stuff has been going on, albeit with plenty of darker moments taking the lead too at times. I’ve been very thankful in all this for time spent with Buddhist teachings and my sitting meditation practice over the years.
‘Bardo’ isn’t intended to be any sort of depiction of the bardo stages, but it was made with that aspect of the Dharma and all it entails in mind: holding steady in the face of terrifying appearances, and aiming to find stability of mind and recognition of emptiness in the many forms that show up in dark and difficult unknown terrain…