Robert Beer (born 1947), a British artist, has studied Tibetan Buddhist art for over thirty years. One of the first Westerners to become actively involved in this art form, he initially studied for a period of five years in India, and one year in Nepal, with several of the finest Tibetan artists living at that time.
Since 1976, when he returned to England, he has worked consistently upon developing the artistic skills, vision, patience, and understanding of this highly complex subject. Between 1979 and 1997 he devoted eighteen years to an extensive series of iconographical brush drawings, which depict the symbolic offerings and attributes, and many of the lineage holders and major deities of Tibetan Buddhist art. Since 1997 he has devoted his time to writing upon these subjects, and the first volume of this work, The Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs, was published in 1999. This encyclopedia has been widely recognized as the definitive text on this subject. Another text, The Handbook of Tibetan Buddhist Symbols, is for sale in the Gallery.
Robert will speak on the Wrathful Vajrayana Deities. Vajrayana or Tantric Buddhism refers to the Vajra, a mythical weapon that is also used as a ritual implement. The unique style of work by Chewang Dorje Lama, whose work is in this exhibition, has its origins in the Buddhism of Ancient India, which then traveled northward to Central Asia, Nepal, Tibet, and Mongolia where it developed and took root as the Vajrayana or tantric tradition.