Humans are becoming increasingly disconnected and separated from each other and from the Earth itself, as we can see in the continued decline of our environment’s well-being and the lack of regard for human groups being directly impacted by this. Through my own investigations, research, and meditation experiences, I have come to believe that it is very important for humans to understand and feel the sacred connection between all there is: between humans, other living beings, the environment, the Earth, and the Universe. This is why I have used my own meditation practice to inspire and ultimately create this work.
This piece is primarily inspired by the Indian theory of the chakra system of the human spiritual and energetic body, and is portrayed through a serpent-shaped collage of mandalas that represent each of the seven main chakras. According to Indian chakra theory, each chakra center is a wheel of energy situated at a specific location in the body along the spinal column (O’Sullivan, 2010). Mandalas are geometric designs that are traditionally used to meditate on, representing a yearning to understand and feel the wholeness of the universe and planting a “seed” in the unconscious of the viewer to subtly raise consciousness and become closer to this central wholeness (Rangarajan, 2009). The serpent form is inspired by the Kundalini Concept in Tantra-Yoga, which is often referred to as the “Serpent Power” that rests at the base of the spine and uncoils at the point of enlightenment, which is marked by ultimate connection to the Divine in the waking state (Feuerstein, 2003). Tibetan Buddhist monks create incredibly intricate mandalas out of sand and sweep them up and place them into running water upon their completion, and this piece will ultimately be destroyed as well. The scraping of these mandalas off of the wall at the close of this show will harken back to this Buddhist tradition of highlighting the impermanence of all there is (Freer & Sackler Gallery, 2002).
The combination of all of these principles helps to lead viewers to consider the existence of chakras in their own energetic body and contemplate the connections between ourselves and the elements that embody the chakras that intertwine our energies with the Earth and to the Universe.
Feuerstein, G. (2003). The deeper dimension of Yoga: Theory and practice. Boston: Shambhala.
Freer & Sackler Gallery. (2002). Tibetan Healing Mandala. Retrieved from https://www.asia.si.edu/exhibitions/online/mandala/mandala.htm
O’Sullivan, T. (2010). Chakras. In Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion (pp.134-136). Springer US.
Rangarajan, S. (2009). The Mandalic Consciousness: Sri Chakra as Psychocosmogram. The Trumpeter, 25(1), 118-131.
To create the mandala designs, I did meditations specific to each chakra then sketched a mandala for each. Then, I more precisely drew the individual mandalas in pencil and transferred the drawings onto pieces of MDF wood, then carved and cut the designs into the wood using a Dremel and a band saw. Then, I made a prints of each individual mandala by rolling ink onto the wood blocks and transferring it onto newsprint, cutting each of about 100 mandalas out individually. Each individual print was pasted onto the gallery wall with wallpaper paste.