Daniel Buckingham’s visual language is inspired by his solo journey along the ancient Silk Road where, by bicycle, he explored 60 countries over an 8-year span. The Silk Road, which is a 4,000-mile long network of trade routes that connected China to Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, has been referred to as the first information highway. It provided a market for diverse cultures to engage in the trade of goods, including silk, medicinal herbs, glass, livestock, ceramics, and more lavish merchandise, such as jade, ivory and pearls. For Buckingham, however, its significance lies in the vital role it played as a vehicle for cultural, religious and philosophical exchange. This ‘commerce of ideas’ has had a deep impact on the artist, one that has informed his understanding of the human condition.
The Silk Road contained a network of sanctuaries for travelers seeking shelter and rest from the often-harsh climate, offering bunkhouses, stables, baths, places for prayer, and other services. These Caravansaries, a Persian word, karvan (caravan) sara (building with enclosed courts), also served as centers of cultural exchange and social interaction.
Buckingham’s towering three-arch structure, reflects the ancient Caravansary architecture and functions as a metaphorical space for dialogue and contemplation. The arch becomes a portal for our passage through time; an invitation to travel inside and outside history to open a dialogue in the present. Although the architectural form references the distant past Buckingham chooses to use off-the-shelf materials easily found in any home store, such as galvanized steel, to reflect technology of today.
Words describing elements in the landscape - jasmine, wind, cloud, wood, silver, diamond, emerald and turquoise, as well as search, exchange, invite- are elegantly inscribed on medallion shapes, which adorn the steel construction. His pavilion offers the community a place to converse about current events, to play, to share personal stories, and as the artist states, “perhaps fall in love.”
Pam McLaughlin, PhD
Everson Museum: May 2014
Edited by Daniel Buckingham