As demotivating as “nothing lasts forever” may sound, it is a pretty important life lesson that Buddhist monks learn to incorporate in the teachings of their life.
Buddhist monks have followed the practice of creating intricate mandalas with colored sand that take over several days to successfully complete. The mandala is made by monks that are trained for around 3 years or more at a monastery. The mandala itself is made by a pair or a trio of monks over a long period of time, they use colored sand to make the mandala and a metal tube that releases the sand onto a desired place. It is created by dropping each particle of sand into an intricate design. It seems as a painstaking process but to the monks it is a form of meditation.
Mandalas were first created in one of the world’s great religions, Buddhism. The mandala is quite a popular cultural and iconic integrated art-form which originates from deep parts of East-Asia and South-Asia. Mandala is a word with origins from ‘Sanskrit’. They emerged from countries like India, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Tibet and Nepal. By the description of deep rooted Hindu and Buddhist monks and their sacred texts, the Mandala is essentially a spiritual and ritual symbol that depicts the whole universe and its profuse and countless parts of existence. It represents the circle of life and how everything and everyone within an infinite lifetime and limitless universe, are interconnected.
But Why Destroy it?
Although it is an eye-sore to see such a beautiful, complex piece of art to be destroyed. It has very important and deep meaning. They destroy it completely by mixing all the colors with a hand brush, while a monk chants. Then eventually once the ceremony is over the sand is poured into an urn and then released into flowing water. This may sound absurd to the general public, but to the monks it has a deeper spiritual and rooted philosophical reasoning which should be much more important to us as humanity.
The destruction of the Mandala denotes the profound spiritual impermanence of life, and how all things come to an end. It also means how we should learn to let past factors of our life such negative relationships, material objects and possessions let go. The pouring of sand into flowing water from an urn indicates giving energy (a gift) to Mother Earth and passing on enriching energy to the universe and Earth to re-energize our nature.
The destruction of the mandala is definitely one of a positive nature. It establishes the normal conformed meaning of order according to Buddhism. Reconstructing the meaning of reality and perspectives on society. The Buddhist monks gave their own spiritual interpretation on the subject of humanity. As different art-forms and religious practices this too has its own meaning. This concept of art-style is not as common, but Mandalas are. Therefore they are not that prevalent. This should be extremely relevant to us but not widely popularized as most of our society are caught up in a worldly despair in the need of material possessions.
Over 20 musicians have donated rare pieces for the occasion. The line-up includes contributions from the likes of Bicep, Charlie XCX, The Rolling Stones and more.
There will also be a panel discussion in line with Mental Health Awareness Week. The artists and musicians will take part in a number of talks from May 10 to 16 at the same location.
The artwork will be auctioned on Helium London’s website from May 24 to 29.
Music Support is an organisation that helps people in the UK music industry who are struggling with mental health and addiction. The charity offers helplines, training and safe hubs at festivals.
The live music industry has been hit hard by the pandemic. With concert and club venues shut for over a year, it has cost over 170,000 jobs, according to The Guardian.
CEO and founder of Helium London, Jennifer McCormick says: “[The exhibition] has brought together phenomenal talent without prejudice and forged new creative relationships, all united in breaking down barriers surrounding addiction and mental health.”
The art students across the UK have shown their concern over the Government’s plan to halve the funding for the “less-prioritized” Art courses in Universities i.e. from almost £36m to £19m. Sources also suggest that this is being done to make way for apparently “more-prioritized” courses ranging from medicine to IT.
Despite the fact that the number of students entering undergraduate courses in art and design keeps rising each year with the arts and culture industry growing by £390million in a year (as of April 2019) and contributing almost £209 billion a year to the UK economy, the Government has made this decision which is considered “destructive” and “short-sighted” by university heads speaking to Design Week. UK’s plan to “Build Back Better” to support economic growth through significant investment in infrastructure, skills and innovation not only contradicts with this bold step, but also completely rules out the industry that already contributes to UK designs being exported outside. Successful UK businesses and iconic brands such as Virgin, Jaguar Land Rover, O2, Dyson and Diageo all regard design as essential to innovation and market expansion. Considering the value of the design industry in some of the largest multi-national companies, it is almost extremely sad to come across this news.
In order to understand what it is like to come across such news whilst being an Arts student here in the UK, I conducted a small focus group wherein Arts students from University of Westminster came forward and spoke about it. Anjali Dalal, an MA Multimedia Journalism student who runs an Instagram Page to showcase some of her phenomenal street photography series (https://www.instagram.com/anjaliidalal/) says that 50% is too much of an amount to deduct and that stealing from ART is not a good move considering the struggles of the art students and artists who are already seen commonly starting random fundraisers to complete their projects. Marie, a first year Contemporary Media Practices student (https://www.instagram.com/throughmarieslens/) feels it’s extremely wrong of the Government to make these plans and ruin people’s dreams and passions. The agitation that these art students have shown sure calls for an increasing concern over this matter.
“I already feel that I don’t get the quality of the hands-on experience I applied for, and they want to reduce the support even more.”
Meet Amy Jobes, the Devon-based artist who has captured some of North Devon’s most beautiful landscapes in fascinating and unique ways. In this short profile, Amy discusses her love of the local environment and her inspirations for the specific use of colour in her work.
This video is an interview with Lin Tan bin, a tattoo artist. He is 36 years old, with a junior high school diploma. He has worked in many jobs, such as delivery clerk, driver, etc. At the beginning of entering the tattoo industry, he was not approved by his family. With the lapse of time, his family is also attracted by the tattoo culture, tattoo from his hobbies into his career. This year is his third year in the tattoo industry. The video talks about the influence of tattoos on his life and his views on tattoos.