Bamiyan's Laser Buddhas.

Six months before radical islamists affiliated with Afghanistan's Taliban got our attention on September 11, 2001, they outraged the world by blasting 1600-year old Buddha statues off the face of the Bamiyan Valley cliffs. Now California-based artist Hiro Yamagata has plans to put them back.

At the request of Afghanistan's government, he'll install a permanent laser projection system in the valley to superimpose 140 faceless, overlapping Buddhas. To be completed by June 2007, the project will utilize 14 laser projectors powered by windmills and solar panels to create the nearly 200-foot tall images. While Yamagato says "I'm doing a fine art piece. That's my purpose - not for human rights, or for supporting religion or a political statement," the medium of light, a theme in most major religions, seems perfect for illustrating the ethereal and ultimately indestructible nature of what underlies not only Buddhism but most spiritual traditions.

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