swords and steel and subtle traces
of nothingness


[Sword making has always been part of Miya Ando’s family identity, mythology and history.
Her family went from making swords into the Buddhist priesthood.
Both have impacted and informed her path as an artist.]


Miya Ando: Steel Painting


I am very influenced by Zen practices such as the tea ceremony and concepts such as nothingness and MuShin – total absorption in a task, Mu (nothingness) and non-duality.

Mushin is the total absorption in  a single task – meditation, prayer, sanding metal.  I approach my studio practice as a practice of Mushin – a complete focus on the physical task of creating my works.  The intention is to go toward a state of non-duality and loss of ego.

According to the Buddhist concept of Sunyata, the impermanent nature of form means that nothing possesses essential, enduring identity. This is the nature of my work.


Miya Ando: Luminous - Transcendent

Luminous – Transcendent
steel, patina, pigment, automotive lacquer


Question: When you talk about going into a “state of non duality” do you mean becoming one with the work; loss of subject/object awareness during the process of making the work?  Or do you mean that you are using the art-making process as a means of meditation to attain a non-dual state on a permanent basis? As a form of transcendence of the egoic state?

Yes, I consider my studio practice to be a meditative one; a practice in the loss of the ego via absorption/focus in a task (in my case that would be the task of working with steel – the process of creating my works involves some extreme activities that involve working with fire, serious caustics, sharp tools, loud sanding, acid etching, heavy vapors that require a respirator – many of these activities call for total focus given the intensity of the activity and the very short working time, this I have found to be helpful in my practice of concentration and focus).  The state of non-duality is one wherein there is a loss of difference between the viewer and that which the viewer perceives.  I do see the practice of art as potentially transformative and [it] can be transcendent.


Miya Ando: Ghost Series

Ghost Series
print on aluminum


The Ghost Series is about non-duality, actually.  The difference is that there is a figurative element to the works.  The idea was that the surface of the work is reflective – perhaps there is another being reflected back – the work become a window, the work becomes a trace of something very subtle.  Perhaps the ghost is an iteration of a quality we all have universally within ourselves.  I am very interested in these very subtle traces of what could be nothingness.

Source: Non-Duality Magazine – edited from an interview with Miya Ando

Images © copyright Miya Ando


Update – from huffingtonpost.com:

Surface & Depth… an Interview with Miya Ando


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