More of a cultural exchange than an art project, Mazu: Goddess of the Empty Sea is an art installation by Nathan Parker and Charlie Nguyen and will be featured at this year’s Burning Man festival in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert.
“Spatially, the main island will be 50 feet wide, 40 feet tall, and with a footprint 150 feet in diameter. The piece will have an aerial view of a floating lotus with islands. An accompanying Taiwanese village theme camp will have a night market, breathing and meditation workshops, and three parades, all culminating in a fireworks display.”
The goddess Mazu (pronounced Matsu) originated with the deification of a young woman named Lin Mo Niang who had performed numerous miracles during her short life. She wore red garments while standing on the shore to guide fishing boats home, even in the most dangerous and harsh weather.
After her death, she was remembered as the young lady in the red dress, who would forever roam over the seas. Honoring her humility and compassion, her devotion and spiritual enlightenment, Lin Mo was elevated to the list of Buddhist deities and declared a goddess.
Marine folklore is filled with tales of catastrophes averted when the goddess Mazu, dressed in red, appeared as a bright light on their troubled ships, arriving just in time to calm a storm and save their lives. Some said that Lin Mo could actually ride clouds across the ocean, and appear in the flesh to rescue them.
Read more about Mazu here