On the weekend of June 6th and 7th, two giant Buddha statues destroyed by Taliban forces in 2001 were resurrected using 3D projection technology. Known as the Buddhas of Bamyan, the two structures, towering over 100 feet, were carved into the sandstone cliffs of Bamyan Valley, Afghanistan, and had watched over the area since the sixth century. They once served as an important site of pilgrimage for Buddhists. When the Taliban deemed the Buddhas false idols, they obliterated them using tanks and artillery shells. The damage was extensive, and in the years since there has been much debate on how — or even if — they could be repaired. UNESCO named the ruins a site of World Heritage in Danger in 2003.
Documentarians Janson Yu and Liyan Hu, however, offered the Afghan people a temporary (but inspiring) solution: to project beautiful, realistic holograms of the Buddhas inside the blasted caverns where they once stood. As The Atlantic explains, “the couple fine-tuned the projections on a mountainside in China and then, after receiving approval from UNESCO and the Afghan government, brought the system to Afghanistan” (Source). Only 150 people attended the event as it was not well publicized, but you can still witness the Buddhas’ resurrection in the images and video above. While the temporariness of the projections may reemphasize the devastating loss of the ancient statues — and how their future remains uncertain — the video sums up the symbolic effect quite nicely, deeming the holographic reconstructions a “beacon of light after a decade of war.” (Via artnet News)