“Man is a genius when he is dreaming.”
– Akira Kurosawa
Aside from writing and number-crunching, I am also documenting society through photography and film, which has provided a creative outlet for my academic research.
Emanations of Tara, an experimental non-narrative documentary on Tara, a female Bodhisattva in Tibetan Buddhism. This short film offers reflections on the cycles of life; with no characters or plot, its imagery is organised into the five colours of Tara—green, yellow, blue, red and white—symbolising the different stages of life. Religious portraits of Tara collected from Tibetan monasteries are woven together with the secular testimony of modernity that we experience in our daily routines. Travelling between the mythical emptiness of landscape and the restless abundance of cityscape, this visual phantasmagoria is a plea for contemplation on the essence of life.
Since November 2015, I have been directing a documentary on Ani Chöying Drolma and her Arya Tara School. Ani Chöying is an acclaimed “rock star” Nepali nun who refused to bow to her fate. She is also seen by the Buddhist community as a living Green Tara—an incarnation of feminine energy to protect people from dangers that disturb the inner balance of the soul. By documenting her path to becoming an influential compassionate musician and a leading voice for women in her country, our film aims to shine a light on gender inequality and female education in Nepal. We hope to raise awareness and funds through the documentary to help the nuns at her Arya Tara School and patients at the kidney hospital she set up, both of which are in Kathmandu.