Blog / In search of good karma at Art Basel Miami Beach

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By Wendy

MIAMI–After attending quite a few large, sprawling art fairs in Miami and New York, I generally know what to expect.
I expect to see thousands of works of art. I expect my feet to hurt.
I do not expect to be invited to help make art, as I was last night at the opening event for Art Asia Miami, one of the many satellite fairs around Art Basel Miami Beach.
Artist Jakkai Siributr, at the space for Tyler Rollins Fine Art, was embroidering words in red thread on white handkerchief-sized pieces of cloth embellished with black designs. He invited members of the Nasher Museum group to write down recent examples of acts that might result in bad karma.
The group picked me. And the group suggested strongly that I write about the coat.
For reasons I cannot explain, yesterday I removed my boss’s designer trench coat from the rental car and handed it over to the lost and found department.
Who knows what kind of bad karma that will bring me?
So I wrote it on the cloth (see image above).

Earnestly, Jakkai explained that in his native Thailand, poor people think their misfortunes are caused by bad karma in previous lifetimes. To counteract this bad karma, they go to temples to “make merits, to make good deeds,” Jakkai said.
People will even pay extra to accellerate their merits, he said, “instead of focusing on what’s happening now.”
The purpose of Jakkai’s karma exercise is to point out that anyone can create a good deed anywhere, any time, without having to pay cash for it, he said (I am paraphrasing a little here).  “You can make good deeds … as long as you’re conscious and mindful of actions that you do.”
And after 20 minutes on the phone with a rental car agent searching for the lost coat, I really can’t argue with that.

jakai-siributr

IMAGE: Photo of artist Jakkai Siributr by Wendy Hower Livingston.

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