Editor’s Note: My earlier headline was misleading. Please only use the paintbrushes provided at the Mandala; they keep the artwork uniform. Apologies for the confusion this has caused on site at the Mandala. Erica’s last name is Snowlake, not Westlake as previously typed and this is the 16th Annual Community Mandala Painting, not the 18th. Too many late nights processing all the images from Sunshine Coast events!
The newly revealed 2013 Roberts Creek Mandala is an eye-popping geometric with one of nature’s most beloved and threatened wee beasties thrown in, and one can only image how freaking amazing it’s going to be when shot from above at completion.
The Mandala Painting Project is arguably one of the most beloved community art and spirit events held on the Sunshine Coast. All our festivals are wonderful, but there’s something extra special in seeing Rob Marion roll up in the old gritty flesh-coloured truck with the paints, containers, brushes and brooms, ready to help hundreds of folks of all ages to paint in their one spot each into 365 days of fame. Erica Snowlake, the other familiar face every year, is the co-coordinator and seems to have endless energy.
Besides, you have to really love an event where the organizers accept watermelon as a form of payment. Note: there is a donations jar on the information table – this helps the organizers take the week off from their day jobs to do the Mandala project, so be sure to contribute to the kitty.
For the life of me I just can’t wrap my brain around how Rob can ‘see’ the design and get it down on the blacked over mandala surface (it still lets all the past mandala designs through in a kind of lingering-spirit sort of way). And how, through controlling a few key spots through assigning them to more accomplished painters and muralists, a truly jaw-droppingly gorgeous image lifts out of the circle like a phoenix.
Am I overselling it? Ask around – I think not. Of course there are squabbles over paint, quick cleanups under pressure, minding p’s and q’s and toes and heels around all that wet paint, fending off sunstroke – bring plenty of sunscreen and then clean your hands before painting, and wear a big hat – and waiting your turn for this wildly popular summer must-do on the calendar… but it’s all part of the charm.
And of course, people will insist on bringing dogs around and be admonished to get them on leashes, and motorized scooters will be herded off to the hinterland around the painting area (don’t laugh; two years ago there were a good 50 people painting in the sunshine and one fellow drove right through the middle of it heading for the pier behind. The screeching and gasps of horror! But in keeping with the live and let live Gumboot Nation spirit, people let it go after he’d been lifted off… though it seemed to me an act of utter willfulness given the signage, barriers, toddlers and exceedingly delicately poised people all over it).
This year marks the 16th year of the Mandala Project, and if you want to know more, check out the Mandala facebook page… especially the ‘blast from the past’ photo of the 2004 Mandala.
Interestingly, and I only just figured it out right this minute… the very first Roberts Creek Community Mandala happened in 1997. Bigpacific.com launched a scant 4 months later. Syncronicity.
Want to know how it all started? Get the history/herstory here.
Here’s a few of our pics from last year, send us your best pics to post for 2013!