Arles: photos, meditation and music

This summer Matthieu Ricard joined Maria João Pires for two concerts in the  Roman amphitheatre of the ancient French city of Arles. In parallel, Matthieu’s photo exhibition in a monumental bamboo pavilion on the opposite bank of the Rhone drew a constant stream of visitors. 150 people were able to attend a group meditation in this extraordinary setting.
Maria and Matthieu with a shared vision.

Practicing before the concert.

Arles’ Roman theatre was built under the reign of Emperor Augustus. Started around 40/30 BC, it was completed around the year 12 BC. Unlike the nearby arena, it was only used for theatrical productions. After a chequered history of demolitions and changes of use, the remains were restored in the 19th century.

The venue was full on both nights. The acoustics are excellent, and the stone structure shields the audience from the surrounding noises of the town.

Instead of applauding at the end of each piece the audience joined Matthieu in meditation.

Matthieu used the different moods of the music to evoke different stages of the meditation: love, compassion, joy and impartiality.

As Maria plays…

…Matthieu meditates.

The bamboo pavilion, snapped at a rare moment when it was empty. This extraordinary building, created by the Colombian architect Simón Vélez, with his associate Stefana Simic, is based on the “maloca”, the traditional habitat of the Orinoco basin, using the fast growing huge bamboos that grow everywhere in that region. The roof is thatched with local reeds. The skillfully ventilated structure stayed delightfully cool amid the blazing summer heat.

40 of Matthieu’s photos were exhibited in giant format in black and white on precious Japanese Awagami paper. This technique’s origins go back 1,400 years.

Matthieu explains the story behind each photo.

Guided group meditation. A number of our online friends from Imagine Clarity were able to attend and we were extremely pleased to meet them.

Photos by Charles Hastings, except for this one, by Pauline Bechet.
Charles Hastings

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