We are the Nearest to the Sun
Mineral pigments on canvas
Collection of Shelley and Donald Rubin

What do you see being transformed?

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18 Responses to “We are Nearest to the Sun”

  1. AP says:

    I see a clear sky being transformed by a whirling cloud created by the people below.

    The sky was empty, but the activity of the town below it has made a thick cloud, which seems to be about to cover up the sun and fill the whole sky with dark gray clouds.

  2. Jenny says:

    Do you Make Mandalas?

  3. Annette Cohen says:

    I see a magical, mystical land filled with interesting and creative people who are considerate, kind and spread love. Surely this land is “nearest to the (warmth) of the sun! It’s a peaceful place!

  4. Tsakor Baro says:

    i love the details of this work.Is this done by using paints? if ”yes”, mind blowing,,,if ”no”, still mind blowing.

  5. alex j sp says:

    really good picture

  6. Alex W. says:

    Perhaps the true beauty of this work lies in its originality; I don’t believe I have ever seen anything quite like it before. It uses a pictorial language I am entirely unfamiliar with. At first glance, this language seemed quite legible, yet upon closer examination, I realized that the language is in fact not easily deciphered at all. It is the artist’s own personal language: her secret means of conveying her feelings, of responding to her world. This language seems to draw on certain aspects of traditional Tibetan art; indeed, there are many stylistic similarities. But the language of expression has also evolved. Design and color still prevail, but so too does a sense of mystery. I presume – given the work’s title – that the artist is representing Lhasa, as it is one of the highest cities in the world. But what does it mean to be “near to the sun?” And, more importantly, why would anyone desire to be near to the sun? The artist, too, might have mixed feelings about the location she is depicting. There is a sense of palpable joy, yes, but also a sense of unease; there is a dynamic quality inherent to the work, but also a sense of stillness and silence. There work gives the impression that life is both simple yet infinitely complex. The viewer understands that real places and monuments are likely being portrayed, but also that much of what is depicted is a product of the artist’s own mind. These paradoxes are precisely what make this work so engaging. “We are the Nearest to the Sun” captures the life of a populace that is both simple and complicated, joyful and sad, past and future, real and imagined.

  7. Will Taylor says:

    I see the traditional Tibetan painting style transformed into a modern Cubist-influenced style. The houses and figures are depicted in an abstract, geometric fashion. There is no mandala or central deity, but the Buddhist heritage can still be observed through the temple and praying figures. While the Himalayan region is sometimes referred to as the “rooftop of the world,” Dedron has actually divided the canvas abruptly to resemble the outline of a rooftop. As the title suggests, the inhabitants thrive at an unusually high elevation. The people themselves seem to have been transformed into a multi-racial group instead of a strictly Tibetan ethnicity. This could represent the cultural and political changes in the modern era that have scattered Tibetans and left many struggling to find an identity.

  8. LF says:

    I see the organization and strict separation of forms of the traditional thanka painting being transformed into a composition of lines and forms that intersect. Although preserving some cultural elements (such as some of the ornamentation and the medium), this painting is compositionally so different than its predecessors. I think this structure communicates Dedron’s message of being “closest to the sun” because of the sharp angle that directs the viewer’s eye up in the direction of the sun. She does not use the strict organization as artists have in the past to connect with Mt. Meru, but instead transforms this tradition to convey her personal message.

  9. Ashley Ball says:

    The position of Tibetans in context to each other and to the rest of the world is being transformed. This painting shows the different Tibetan communities compartmentalized just as they are in the world because of diaspora from the Chinese occupation of Tibet. However, as this painting illustrates these communities even if partially segregated still exist as a unified and energetic conglomeration of Tibetan identities. And together these identities create the homeland of Tibet and thus even if dislocated the Tibetan culture is preserved through those who continue to embrace their identity even while incorporating external cultural influences. Allowing the Tibetans who are no longer geographically closest to the sun to still be internally as integral a part of the homeland.

  10. JGC says:

    It seems to me that this drawing represents an old Tibetan community, similar to those rendered in other Sino-Tibetan landscapes.

    The cloud escaping, represents fleeting Tibetan identities. The people are lined up to reach the top of the mountain village in hopes to get close to the escaping smoke.

    Saying we are nearest to the sun seems to hint towards the idea that Tibet is nearest towards the source of life, or the creator. Yet modern Tibetans living in exile are so far from their homeland or the source of their life.

  11. Mitchell S says:

    I see a people thriving through its culture and art, despite (or perhaps because of) its harsh position at the top of the world.

  12. kristin godfrey says:

    The maze like structure running up the mountain creates confusion and chaos while still being orderly. I feel as if the people are following the maze to the top, trying to get to the red flag. The red flag is the peak of the mountain, but also the height of a successful life. To me it represents the Tibetan people fleeing from and fighting the Chinese, in hopes of getting to the top of their allegorical mountain. The yellow color of the mountain as well as the red of the flag remind me of the color worn by traditional Buddhist monks. Thus the picture is a commentary on Tibetan Buddhism and the fight by the Tibetan people to get back on top and rule themselves once again. The smoke is the cloud of oppression looming over them. This is beautiful and evocative picture rife with social criticism.

  13. Lauren M says:

    To me, the transformation is the idea of the clouds over-powering the sun. The title of this work is, “We are the Nearest to the Sun.” This work speaks to the consequences of this position. Being the closets means a) that you are blessed with more light than those who are further…but if you do anything to “pollute” the world, it can block that light. I believe this works speaks to a direct relationship between the land ‘nearest to the sun’ and the effects of their actions in the eyes of the rest of the world.

  14. Kelly says:

    I see a colorful vibrant village on a mountain top with a red flag on top representing a free tibet

  15. MJC_vanderbilt says:

    When I first saw this work, it immediately reminded me of Gustav Klimt with the warm colors and overlay of geometric shapes. This surprised me seeing as most associations with Tibetan works are often strict iconometric thangka paintings or sculptures of bodhisattvas.
    I think this speaks to the globalization of modern Tibetan art with the fusion of many different cultures being represented for the now disperse Tibetan people. The small red flag at the top is symbolic of the control of China while wisp of the cloud may be a symbol of a return to the balance of nature soon spreading in order to restore this land and its people.

  16. CW says:

    What I see being transformed here is the space in which Tibetans, a vibrant cultural group, have to express their identity. When read from the bottom up, it seems that the space furthest from the Red Flag, a symbol of the Chines occupation, is the widest and gives these individuals the ability to live comfortable and peacefully in a way that allows them to communicate their values and cultural identity. Yet as their space approached the occupation, it becomes chaotic and the people appear to be living in fear.

  17. AIH says:

    Dondren’s artwork is an extremely unique representation of Tibet life and culture in that it is not a traditional representation through Tibetan artistic history. The visual language of Tibetan art is what is being transformed.

    The title, “We are nearest to the Sun” describes the location of Tibet in the Himalayan mountains, the highest point on Earth. Yet, a cloud of smoke is blocking the sun from shining and consuming the pure air with a tainted view and effect.