ABOUT LESLIE LESLIE
I was fortunate to grow up in a home of artists. My parents gave me art classes, dance classes and music lessons from a very young age. In college I studied art and literature and always was busy making something.
In 1983, I traveled to the Khumbu region of Nepal with my family for 12 days of trekking with the Sherpas, Tibetan Buddhists, who graciously showed us their land and their customs. I returned, deeply touched and transformed by the lovingkindness and compassion that was their normal daily practice. I knew that I wanted to make art that plumbed the depth of meaning in the prayer flag. The notion of ancient sanskrit mantras for peace, lovingkindness and compassion carried by the wind, rain and elements to the four corners of the earth resonated in my heart.
I was trained as an artist in the 60’s at the University of Vermont, became an educator and an environmental activist and raised a family, which left me little time for my art. Finally in 2011, I was compelled to make time for my Metta prayers.
To make each piece, I first write the Metta Sutta, the Buddha’s words of loving kindness and compassion on paper or canvas. Then I write my own prayer to the earth and ask forgiveness for the destruction and devastation we have created in the name of progress and technology. I write these two prayers until the space is filled. The canvas is baptized in the ocean or stream or rainwater. I cover the canvas with earth and then I apply colors and set them free.
Prayers flags are meant to be exposed to the elements so the prayers can circumvent the earth. When they disintegrate, they are burned and their ashes also are scattered in the four directions.
My pieces are infused with the desire that the earth and all beings be filled with lovingkindness and compassion, that all beings be at ease, that we treat each other as a mother cares for her child, and that the rivers, forests, mountains, oceans and every place on earth be safe from all harm and free from fear and suffering.