This mandala is important for many reasons. Didn’t think I’d like coloring it but I did. Very happy with the process and the end result. Started with markers and then successfully used the watercolor pencils yippy! 🙂 Hence, titled ‘New Frontiers’. The uncolored ‘ugly duckling’-looking pic transformed into something that makes me very happy. Faber-Castell, I love thee so much!
As I was coloring this mandala, I thought of two situations. There are times when people with great potential are restricted by their environment that constricts further development of their potential. I remember a girl from my class. We were in grade 10 and our teacher was discussing various career options with us. This girl wanted to become a nurse. She was all excited when the teacher said she’ll help get admission info for her. However, the next day we found her excitement gone. The reason? Her family, a conservative one, did not want her to become a nurse as they did not find this profession appropriate for her. It was sad to see her potential and aspiration snubbed like this.
But there is still hope. Why? Because there are examples of people who, despite being in a challenging environment, are able to realize their full potential. The sharp, pointed borders can no longer limit them as they blossom! These people grow despite the limitations imposed on them and, in doing so, also become role models for others.
Sometimes, we cannot break some links. Even though we try to break them, they just stay connected.. a part of these links does stay connected. Then there are some links that are connected but still broken. Doesn’t matter how much you try to keep them together; they just break away. Links are interconnected. One link can connect or break other links. Some look colorful while others look grim. Some bring joy to you while others sap your energy leaving you exhausted. Choose carefully, we should.
Must admit that this was not one that I was looking forward to color. Just didn’t find it interesting. However, when I started it, it made me think of ‘knowledge transfer’. It is not only to-down but also bottom-up. Also, the knowledge takes different colors as it transfers from one person to the other, creating new knowledge.
My inspiration for the shades outside the mandala came from my neighbor’s 5 year old daughter. She and I color our mandalas together. I am amazed by her natural talent for color combinations. Her colors come out really vibrant which I love. I have thought about it and I think the beauty of her work comes from her inhibition and lack of preconceived notions about how to color, which color combinations to select, where to color (e.g. within lines), etc. I, on the other hand, am all about following the rules. But I am trying to rewrite them 🙂
The name for this mandala comes from heARTwork – a project and brand from NOWPDP. Network of Organizations Working for People with Disabilities, Pakistan (NOWPDP) was founded with the vision to promote the creation of an inclusive society which values and upholds the rights of people with disabilities. It aims to provide a common platform for all disability organizations in Pakistan to come together and bring about change with impact.
heARTwork is one of the initiatives of NOWPDP. The heARTwork mission is to empower people with disabilities through promotion of their craftsmanship, thereby making them valued members of society. The project manager, Tabinda Baig, is a passionate young lady whose team of differently-abled individuals is like a family to her. I met her in a meeting, and got inspired by her passion and her team’s beautiful craft work. Check out more details about the team and the project at http://www.heartwork.org.pk The beautiful craft work from heARTwork can be found at http://www.heartwork.org.pk/pages/our-products.html
This one was a surprise for me in more than one way. Firstly, I tried a shade which I have rarely used. I used to think it was a useless color. My bad. It was surprisingly good and hence covers most of the mandala. Secondly, this mandala took more time than I had expected. I started it on Jul 27th and ended on Jul 30th. Thirdly, the overall African feel was completely unintended. Reminds me of my visit to Uganda back in 2008. While I was coloring this mandala, a phrase from a very famous Urdu verse by Mir Taqi Mir kept popping up in my mind “le saans bhi aahista..” or breathe slowly.. breathe slowly as you color this mandala.. breathe slowly as the lion may hear you..breathe..slowly.. ..so slowly that you even forget the ‘e’ in breathe!
I have noticed that I try to remain within the boundaries when coloring my mandalas. Is it because I have always been told to color within the lines? I have noticed my urge to tell my neighbor’s daughter to do the same. I get frustrated sometimes when she refuses to color inside the boundaries, especially because I have see her classwork where she has colored beautifully. But is it justified – my urge to make her stay within the boundaries? I am aware of these thoughts when I color mandalas with her. Maybe it’s her way of expressing herself? Maybe she can’t do it at school (thank you, teachers, for your scolding) and feels comfortable at home thereby deciding to color outside the picture? Or maybe I am psychoanalyzing too much!
But isn’t it the way life is too? This pattern sets in from a very young age. We remain within the defined boundaries – self-defined or otherwise. Stay within these boundaries and everything is OK. Move outside and things go haywire. Professionally or personally. This is why I decided to color outside the boundaries in this mandala. It may not be as evident as it is in the original paper version but it is there if you look carefully. The purple pencil color outside the outermost circle. This reflects what I try to do with my life every once in a while. Go outside the boundaries – comfort zones – and try something the very thought of which scares me or makes me anxious. It’s fun. If you notice, it is still close to the circle and follows its shape. Outside but still connected. Interesting, if you ask me.