In this presentation art conservator Ann Shaftel will share stories about working with Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche on the conservation of his own creations, and how her 50 years of experience regarding the care of sacred art has affected her approach to the conservation of the “I am here Mukpo” calligraphy.
This large calligraphy on wallboard, considered to be a profound work of sacred art, a beautiful calligraphy, a piece of history, a political statement, a damaged artifact, a conservation challenge, and perhaps only two-thirds genuine, inspires lively discussion.
In the early 1980s, in an old office building, the first Buddhist meditation center was established in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Barrington Street. For a public reception and talk, Chogyam Trungpa calligraphed the words “I am here, Mukpo” (his family name) on a wall.
When the group moved, his students took two of the calligraphed wallboard panels with them (the first panel was structural), to their new centre on Tower Road. In the mid 1980s, members of the Buddhist community who moved to Halifax, would sign the back of the calligraphy with the date of their arrival.
When The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 wanted to include the entire calligraphy in an exhibit, Ann Shaftel and her team re-created the lost first panel. Following the exhibition, the calligraphy, large and vulnerable, was moved to an elementary school, then into storage, and then to a new Buddhist center where it went into storage until recently installed in a reception room.
Conservation and Creation: “I am here Mukpo” Calligraphy will be held on 26 April at 16:00 Eastern Standard Time. The presentation will be about 45 minutes, including Q&A.
Donations for this presentation will go directly to ongoing conservation work with Buddhist monasteries and their communities, and for Treasure Caretaker Training, a free preservation resource with practical information on digital documentation, risk assessment, disaster recovery, safer storage, and preservation of thangkas and other treasures.
Ann Shaftel is a Fellow of the International Institute for Conservation, a Fellow of the American Institute for Conservation, and a member of the Canadian Association of Professional Conservators, ICOM AND ICOMOS. Ann works internationally in museums, universities, Dharma centers, monasteries, and their communities. She directs the registered non-profit Treasure Caretaker Training, and has researched and worked in monasteries and museums since 1970.