The Five Hundred Arhats were discovered in 2001–02 among the ruins of the Changnyeongsa temple in Yeongwol, Gangwon-do Province in South Korea and are believed to be between 600 and 1000 years old. In Buddhism, an arhat – or nahan in Korean – is one who has attained enlightenment and these stone figures are thought to depict 500 disciples of Buddha.
This exhibition features arhat statues with lifelike expressions, from joy and serenity to anger and sorrow: the gamut of human emotion. Incorporated into an installation created by artist Kim Seung Young made up of more than 1000 audio speakers, the exhibition suggests the arhats are meditating in an attitude of intimate, reclusive poise amidst a cacophony that evokes the distracting bustle of urban life.
Produced in collaboration with the Chuncheon National Museum (Korea) the exhibition will mark the 60th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Korea and Australia and serve as a poignant reminder that each of us is a noble being with the potential to attain enlightenment.
Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Korea
Korean Foundation for International Cultural Exchange
Korean Cultural Centre Australia
Australia-Korea Foundation, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
The Powerhouse reopens in line with the latest NSW Government’s public health guidelines and has implemented a number of safety protocols to keep visitors safe during Covid-19. All staff, and visitors to the Powerhouse aged over 16, will be required to be double vaccinated with an approved Covid-19 vaccine as well as wear masks throughout the museum. Further information.