To mark the Summer Solstice, The Magical Mandarin.com is pleased to unveil Seven Masks, an on-line exhibition of original artwork by Gary Dickinson.
Over the past two years Gary Dickinson has been, both philosophically and artistically, on the trail of ‘Kwaw Li Ya’, one of Crowley’s ‘Chinese’ personae. His strange but fascinating metaphorical journey has taken him from the High Himalayas, across China and lead him eventually to Esopus Island on the Hudson River. He returns from that journey with ‘Seven Masks’.
‘Seven Masks’ is an on-line exhibition of original works of art all inspired by Crowley’s drawing ‘The Way’. How the so-called ‘Portrait of Lam’ is viewed today has changed significantly since it was first exhibited in New York in 1919. In ‘Seven Masks’ Gary explores the possible origins of and influences on Crowley’s best-known drawing.
Part of a re-assessment of the significance of Crowley’s ‘Lama’, as he called the drawing, ‘Seven Masks’ also illustrates the themes discussed in Gary’s article ‘Images of the Mystery’ in the forthcoming Starfire Vol.2, No.4. That article attempts to demonstrate that the various threads woven together by Kenneth Grant into the modern ‘Cult of Lam’ can be traced either to Far Eastern sources or to interpretations of East Asian traditions by Madame Blavatsky and Crowley himself.
As a preface to the on-line exhibition Gary has written ‘Oriental Grotesques’ as a supplement to his Starfire article. In it he looks at the relationship between ‘Lam’ and other ‘oriental’ images by Crowley and the influence of contemporary popular culture, particularly the ‘yellow peril’ novels of Sax Rohmer, on the development of the various ‘Chinese’ personae Crowley assumed around the time of drawing ‘The Way’.
“I very much hope”, Gary says, “visitors to the on-line exhibition will take the time to read ‘Oriental Grotesques’ and the notes that support each of the ‘Seven Masks’ as well as enjoy the artworks themselves”.
The ‘Seven Masks’ exhibition is now on-line at themagicalmandarin.com and the artworks themselves available for sale at The Atlantis Bookshop, Museum Street in Central London.