Five Hundred Arhats at Powerhouse Museum

Thu 2nd December, 2021 – Sun 15th May, 2022
Powerhouse Museum
500 Harris Street, Ultimo NSW 2007
An art installation with over 1000 speakers accompanies a collection of sacred Buddhist relics.

In Buddhist culture, an arhat (or nahan in Korean) is one who has attained enlightenment. In the early 2000s, the Five Hundred Arhats statues were discovered among the ruins of Changnyeongsa temple in Yeongwol, Gangwon-do Province, South Korea, and are believed to be between 600 and 1000 years old. Five Hundred Arhats refers to the 500 disciples of Buddha who came together to compile his teachings into what we now know as the Buddhist sutras.

In collaboration with the Chuncheon National Museum of Korea, Powerhouse Museum is presenting Five Hundred Arhats of Changnyeongsa Temple, an exhibition featuring one Buddha and fifty arhat statues with lifelike expressions covering the full range of human emotion. It’s an exhibition that asks us to consider these sacred figures as reflections of ourselves and our own mind and spirit.

The arhats appear within an installation by artist Kim Seung Young, comprising over 1000 audio speakers and a meditative yet lively sound design. The result is a moment of intimacy and poise amid a cacophony of sound evoking bustling urban life.

The exhibition also marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Australia and South Korea, appealing especially to those interested in Korean culture and history as well as Buddhist spirituality and storytelling.

More details. Entry is free.

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Powerhouse Museum.