Inside the World Art Gallery, a flint Buddha sits, deep in meditation, illuminated from above.
This Buddha was sculpted in Gandhara (Now Pakistan) sometime between the 2nd and 4th centuries (Kingdom of Gandhara: 1st Millennium BC-11th Century AD). There is a hint of a classical Greek influence, which was probably brought over by Alexander the Great. The statue itself would have been used as a focus for meditation as part of a stupa (Buddhist religious centre) and it was donated in 1951 by Col. G.A.Hawkes.
The story of Buddha himself was that he was born as Siddhartha Gautama to the King Suddhodana and Queen Maya. His mother died soon after his birth and his father attempted to shield him from the ills of the world; but when he left the palace, aged 29, he witnessed disease, death and starvation and was depressed by it.
He left the city and lived the life of an ascetic and studied various teachings in order to gain enlightenment; until he collapsed and realised that this was not working, and he began a path of moderation from extremes. He then seated himself under a papal tree and meditated to gain enlightenment, after 49 days he succeeded.
On a personal level, Buddha is someone whom I aspire to be more like in my day-to-day life, in addition to Egyptologist Joyce Tyldesley and psychic David Wells. Buddha has an aura of calmness and serenity and, in some depictions, a real sense of fun. I also like the concept of moderation from extremes.
Young person volunteer on the Local Global project
Local Global is an exciting project that aims to transform the current World Art Gallery at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery with the help of young people. It is one of 14 projects across the country linked to the 2012 Cultural Olympiad strand Stories of the World.