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Introduction Into The World of Mandalas

[Click for Source]

I’ve always been a pretty creative and artistic person. Painting, doodling, playing music, photography. One hobby I’ve been particularly interested in since graduating high school has been creating pattern art such as mandalas. This has developed into the creation of an Instagram art page where I post and share predominately mandala creations.

Some posts from my art Instagram account, [Click for source]

Traditionally, the word mandala means “circle” in Sanskrit, an ancient language in Hinduism (Mark, 2020). Mandalas are geometric designs that hold great significance and symbolism in Buddhist and Hindu cultures, believed to represent different parts of the universe and cosmos (Thakur, 2020). The actual act of drawing mandalas was originally seen as a meditative practice and spiritual exercise by those from Hinduism, Buddism, Jainism, Shintoism, and they also appear in Persian art, Meso-American architecture, Native American art, and more (Mark, 2020).

Tibetan Mandala painted in the Sera Monastery, about 2 km away from Lhasa, Tibet, [Click for Source]

“I sketched every morning in a notebook a small circular drawing, a mandala, which seemed to correspond to my inner situation at the time… Only gradually did I discover what the mandala really is: … the Self, the wholeness of the personality, which if all goes well, is harmonious.” 

C.G. Jung

Different aspects of mandalas can have many meanings. Here is a few meanings for various colours and shapes:

Today, mandala artists and the mandala niche exist on a variety of digital internet platforms and social media such as Reddit, TikTok, Pinterest, and Instagram to name a few. Instagram has a particularly large oversaturated mandala community and art in general, which I’ve observed through my own immersion in this community through my art account. This niche is also dominated more by other artists than an external audience observing.

Art Installation by Suzan Drummen, [Click for source]

While there are many personas who’ve had commercial success within this niche selling art, colouring-ins, and art classes, there are also those who just enjoy creating mandalas. As I’ve been running my page since the start of last year, I’ve noticed many accounts starting up due to COVID-19 and lockdown.

Many of these personas also have their own unique mandala art style. For example, for most of my art, I have a running theme where I use nature and plants as backdrops or props around my art.

Below are some Instagram mandala personas that I follow and recognise:

Researching my own experience as member of this niche by being a participant observer  (Rich, et al. 2018) may assist others in their understanding this niche from my personal perspective, possibly looking at the aesthetics of the niche and other aspects such as the traditional versus modern styles of the mandala, or its traditional meaning versus modern hobby. These are a few different avenues I could explore in my research to broaden the public’s understanding of this niche.

To do this, I’ll be utilising ethnographic research skills such as problematising my media niche to identify and answer a problem and mapping my niche which can be seen in my next post, as well as narrowing my niche to specifically mandalas and my study of their aesthetics (Moore, 2020).

Today, many have taken on the Mandala beyond just Buddhist monks, and it has become much more popularized. Thought the practice still remains true to tradition, it is much more internationally renowned.

alexandrakg

References

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Blog Post Updated: 26th August 2021

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