Be- (and Re-) heading the Buddha: Understanding the artistic and social trauma of looting, and exploring methods of healing




Brandfors, Anna

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This project looks at the destruction of Buddhist temples in Southeast Asia through the looting of statues and the consequences on the social community and the living heritage of the looted sites. By identifying trauma upon the community and the art in question, I seek to make connections to the healing abilities of repatriation and preservation practices, to further understand how the destruction of artistic monuments translates into social and cultural distress. This project also confronts the role of looting from the view of the exploited images and how the misrepresentation of the headless Buddhas through popular culture may affect or deny the origins of the problem and its effect on the culturally connected community.



Art Market, Buddhism, Community, Culture, Looting, Preservation, Reconciliation, Repatriation, Restoration, Southeast Asia