08. The Mandala
The term Mandala is applied to any form that represents cosmic energy in the physical world and reminds the viewer of universal serenity and grace. Mandalas are present in many ancient religions; spiritual geometric configurations that aim to represent our relationship to the infinite. They draw the viewer in, creating an opportunity for contemplation. I have adapted the kaleidoscopic nature of the Mandala seeking to provoke a translation of the essence of the given subject matter. I believe art has the power to influence the energy of the viewer so with that in mind I aim to create artworks that emanate positivity. I first started creating photographic Mandalas in 2005. Since then have created over 400 Mandala images. Some amazing - some never to be seen by the light of day again. All utilising a 4 quadrant format photoshop flip format.
Initially I considered this whole study project to be a continuation of the Mandala lightboxes, and sculptural installations I have done in the past, and I guess in a way this still reigns true, but, through in-depth investigation into the history of the Mandala, I became intrigued how certain civilisations share similar ancient stories. The Mandala as a symbolic format exists in multiple ancient civilisations, it is considered a representation of our connection to all there is:
"As referred to in the Ancient History Encyclopaedia “The word mandala is a Sanskrit term that means circle or discoid object. A mandala can be defined in two ways: externally as a schematic visual representation of the universe and internally as a guide for several psychophysical practices that take place in many Asian traditions, including meditation.” (Violatti, 2013, pp. 1). The Mandala has appeared in human cultural practices for millennia, in rituals, art forms, and constructions. As referred to by the Dalai Lama, the basic properties consist of a centre, symmetry, and cardinal points (His Holiness the Dalai Lama, 2002). The term is applied to any form of a geometric structure and symbol that represents cosmic energy in the physical world. The appearance of the Mandala reminds the viewer of serenity and sanctity in the universe and the energy inside of him or her (Sadiksha, 2018). "
Parallel to the concept of the Mandala my chosen spiritual practice of Vipassana meditation. I did my first 10 day (silent) Vipassana meditation course when I was 19 and have since done 4 more. It was right before I was about to start my Degree at Ara in 1997, the CPIT School of Design. Being a mother has rather put a hold on regular returns to the torturous yet enlightingly gratifying 10 x 14 hours per day in lotus. Vipassana is based on the Buddhist principles of Dharma, and the Noble Eightfold path.....
My Mandalas had become somewhat predictable.
It was time to go deeper.
Rather than recreating the wheel I had to move with its evolution.
I needed to look for a stronger connection to my work, that in turn connected my path to a larger purpose, that connected my processes to a deeper meaning rather than just a surface aesthetic. I had to pool the knowledge of the ancients and find a connection to my own art -slash- spiritual practice.
My desire is to create a series of works which redefines a connection to the divine in MY daily life, without replicating or ripping off past or preconceived concepts or doctrines.
Wheel of Dharma: THE NOBLE EIGHTFOLD PATH - Right understanding (Samma ditthi), - Right thought (Samma sankappa), - Right speech (Samma vaca), - Right action (Samma kammanta), - Right livelihood (Samma ajiva), - Right effort (Samma vayama), - Right mindfulness (Samma sati), - Right concentration (Samma samadhi), Practically the whole teaching of the Buddha, to which he devoted himself during 45 years, deals in some way or other with this path. The essence of the many thousands Buddhist scriptures is found in the noble eightfold path.