|Mandala Challenge by susanna suchak|
Here’s a story…(apologies as I cannot find my source or I would give credit, it may have been in The Spell of the Sensuous by David Abram)
A North American person (who happened to be a man, let’s call him Dan) went to a remote area in the continent of Africa to work with the indigenous people. He loved the stories and especially the way his assistant told them as they travelled from village to village as they walked along together. They developed a close relationship to the point where he felt they were truly brothers.
One day Dan’s supervisor arrived and Dan brought along his assistant (let’s call him Shaha) to the city to pick him up at the small airport. Wanting to showcase the musical storytelling skills of the people he felt were his adopted family, he asked his assistant/brother to tell a story that he remembered as they approached the village.
However, he could hardly believe his ears. Instead of the melodic retelling of an ancient tale, he heard a breathless, stream of words. Was Shaha nervous? Embarrassed to be asked to perform for a newcomer?
After they had settled the guest in his quarters, the two sat with a cup of tea and Dan asked his friend why the story had sounded so different this time around. Shaha raised his eyebrows and smiled widely and said, “My friend that story is a walking story; it belongs to the land and you were going so fast that I could hardly keep up! You see as we pass the large standing stone, I must be “here” in the story and then as we pass the Bayobab tree I must be saying “this” … the jeep didn’t listen to the story, but ran along, raced along. Next time we go walking you will hear the story properly.
A mandala should tell a story, but it takes time and some deep listening. We have a tradition in contemplative practice called visio divina which means seeing deeply, seeing in a divine way. A flower is often a mandala all on its own.
Here’s some places where you might be inspired to produce a photograph that can be manipulated into a mandala.
David Booker works through a multitude of serious physical ailments and maladies by using photography. If you’d like to be inspired you can visit his site for more inspiration http://www.davidbookbinder.com/
For more manipulated mandalas you might want to visit Kathryn Tisdale’s blog http://themandalapattern.com/
Especially for Barb St. Jacques I happened to find this human mandala project video where folks made mandalas from their bodies at Burning Man… http://humanmandalaproject.com/
My idea is similar to this project (which might appeal to those of us who use art as a therapeutic tool) http://www.bee-it.co.uk/Guidance%20Docs/Becta%20Files/Schools/Curriculum/Art%20and%20design/10%20Inspire%20Me_Photographing%20mandalas.pdf
Whether or not you took the time to visit any of these sites you are ready for my part of the challenge. Pick up your camera, or your cell phone, or your iPad … whatever you have that takes pictures and/or has a lens to look through.
Composing a photograph is a lot about what you leave out so the lens finder of even a toy camera will be enough to assist you in the process. The camera’s lens will focus your seeing so that it is not just a quick look and snap.
Photography is … at least for me … more about learning to see (not just look). Get really into a small piece of some image that draws you in; please use something that is familiar and try to see it more deeply, differently, without labeling it as they say to us meditators.
Now take many photos from different angles. I’ll post what to do with them by Wednesday. You can use Photoshop Elements or you can just use Word … You can save the final mandala as a jpg in Elements or as a doc in Word. See you soon…and have fun seeing in a whole new way.
Feel free to share your work or play on Instagram by adding #14SecretsChallenge to your description, or by adding your photo to our Flickr pool.