The Parrish Art Museum will screen the full film premiere of the newly completed documentary, “Sanctuary,” by North Fork artist and environmental advocate Lillian Ball, on Friday, Jan. 3 at 6 p.m.. 

The film tells the story of a charismatic monk who attempts to thwart development efforts that would impact the Lumbini Crane Sanctuary within the Sacred Garden in Nepal. The screening will be followed by a conversation with Ms. Ball, a juror in the Museum’s current exhibition “Artists Choose Artists,” whose work is also on view, moderated by Parrish Director Terrie Sultan.

“I’m delighted to present this film that shows how the struggle to preserve the environment is universal, and I’m hoping that it resonates with our audience in an area where parallels to over-development threatening nature could be drawn,” said Corinne Erni, Senior Curator of ArtsReach and Special Projects.

A World Heritage site, Lumbini, Nepal, is the birthplace of the Buddha—Siddhartha Gautam—and the nesting area of Sarus cranes. 

A plan for development would replace the site with hotels and a meditation center. 

Ms. Ball was inspired to create the film after having spent time with the young Buddhist monk Venerable Metteyya, who seeks to preserve the sacred site, the area’s native flora and fauna, and particularly the Sarus cranes that have inhabited the area since the time of Buddha. 

In historic drawings, the Buddha is often depicted with a crane and according to legend, Buddha once rescued a wounded crane and set it free in the jungles of Lumbini. 

Scholars believe that these non-migratory cranes have inhabited Lumbini for at least the last two millennia.

Ms. Ball worked with Metteyya for three years in his efforts to preserve the sanctuary. 

The documentary, filmed in Lumbini and Kathmandu, Nepal, from 2015 to 2018, includes interviews with Metteyya and many others the filmmaker encountered during that process.    

An ecological artist and pro-activist who works with wetland issues from interdisciplinary backgrounds in anthropology, ethnographic film, and sculpture, Lillian Ball believes that innovative artwork with stakeholders on conservation initiatives benefits wildlife, communities, and visitors. Her work on view in Artists Choose Artists includes “Seasons in a Wetland (2016),” a 6-minute animation of stills taken over five years that shows the transformation of WATERWASH® Bronx River from an abandoned lot on the water’s edge to a thriving wetland park that filters stormwater runoff, protecting the river. 

Ms. Ball’s GO H.O.M.E. Bimini (2018-19) is an interactive video game about threatened mangroves wetlands, was commissioned by the 2008 International Seville Biennial. Ms. Ball exhibits and lectures at international institutions including at Kathmandu’s Taragaon Museum; Seville Biennale; and Reina Sofia, Madrid. Her awards include NYFA Fellowships, Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, and NEA grant.

Tickets to the screening are $12, free for members and students.

For more information, call 631.283.2118. The Parrish Art Museum is located at 279 Montauk Highway in Water Mill.

Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at

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