West Buddha

Bamiyan, Afghanistan

Blown-up 2001

The Disappointed Tourist: West Buddha, Ellen Harvey, 2021. Oil and acrylic on Gessoboard, 18 x 24″ (46 x 61 cm). Photograph: Etienne Frossard.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site consisted of two 6th-century monumental statues of Gautama Buddha that were carved into the side of a cliff in the Bamyan valley in central Afghanistan prior to the Islamic invasion in the second half of the 7th Century. Despite international attempts to save them, the Buddhas were destroyed in 2001, on the orders of the Taliban’s Mullah Mohammed Omar. The painting is based on what appears to be an image of an old postcard.

Requested by BRD., Dillon C., Kim L., Lilly W. & Thomas B.