Wrathful Deity, Fierce Energy

Shezad Dawood’s Wrathful Activity, Fierce Energy, which is on long-term loan, has been guarding the Rubin Museum’s main entrance for the past two years. The bright, colorful neon lights permeate the lobby, casting a glow over the surrounding surfaces and people.

The neon sculpture is an abstract reimagining of a traditional wrathful deity. In Buddhism these fierce deities serve as protectors against enemies and evil energy. The sculpture reinterprets the traditional iconography of wrathful images, with references to fire and ferocious postures and expressions.

Dawood is interested in research practices and historical narratives that exist between fact and fiction. His work explores various traditional heritages and the ways in which collective conscience builds on these stories.

Shezad Dawood (b. 1974, London)
neon on black-painted board
© Shezad Dawood; courtesy of Timothy Taylor, London/New York; photo by David De Armas