Large Ceramic Sculpture of Lee Kavaljian by California Artist Tony Natsoulas

“Lee counts his snails under the Bodhi Tree”
(Portrait of Lee Kavaljian)
Ceramic and wire
40″ X 28″ X 18″
2009
Photo by Izzy Schwartz.

This is a portrait of my friend Lee Kavaljian. It is him as the Buddha and it is honoring his love for Asian Culture. It was inspired by a story that Lee told me. The Buddha was sitting under the Bodhi tree, he was so deep in meditation that he was unaware that it was extremely hot. A group of snails saw him and realizing the importance of his thoughts, crawled up to cover and protect his head with their bodies. The snails died from exposure to the hot sun and became honored as martyrs who had died to protect the Buddha. The curls on his head are the snails on sculptures you see. Buddha shaved his head and Asian people don’t have curly hair.