This week saw a new release from Brian Jones, ‘Nelson Mandala’, a bold and beautiful portrait of Nelson Mandela based on a Buddhist Maridala, one of the most sacred of all mandalas.

The word ‘mandala’ comes from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit and loosely translated means ‘circle’. It has become a generic term for any geometrical pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically, presenting a plan of the universe from an enlightened perspective. The mandala pattern is used in many spiritual traditions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, as a spiritual teaching tool, for establishing a sacred space, and as an aid to meditation.

In ancient Tibet, as part of a spiritual practice, monks created intricate mandalas with coloured sand made of crushed semiprecious stones. They are still commonly used by tantric Buddhists today. Now mandalas are being appropriated by modern artists, such as Mandalaman, to create colourful contemporary art pieces like ‘Brighton Pier’ and ‘Brighton Pavilion’. Psychiatrist Carl Jung said that a mandala symbolizes “a safe refuge of inner reconciliation and wholeness,” perfect for artistic contemplation!