Gonkar Gyasto is one of the most creative and radical Tibetan contemporary artists at the moment. Trained in brush and ink tradition at the Central University of Nationalities in Beijing, he later studied at Central Saint Martins and the Chelsea School of Art and Design in London. Gonkar has developed his own artist vision, language, and style by combining Buddhist iconography with pop images embedded in colourful stickers, resulting in Pop Buddha image which represents a unique spirituality and the artist's triple cultural influences and identities.
Shambala is a Sanskrit word describing the mythical land of abundance, known as Shangrila in the West.The original work of Shambala in Modern Times (Lot 163) was made for the 53rd Venice Biennale. The giant Buddhist imagery in the center is delineated by simple silhouette and filled with Tibetan and Chinese script in grids, on top of fine drawings of leafy scrolls and Buddhist symbols beneath, and further surrounded by rays of stickers Gonkar collected around the world as well as paper cuts from newspaper and magazines pertaining to current socio-political issues. The sixteen editioned works made of gold and silver leaf gicl?e silkscreens were issued after the original work in the same year (Lot 163).
Untitled (Lot 164) from 2007 depicts a Buddhist figure seated in padma-asana composed of stickers to the point of total obliteration of both its facial and mudra specifications. By mixing Buddhist traditions and transformations, Gonkar uses his art to make social commentary in a light-hearted way.