Since July 2010, I have been drawing mandalas as a way to express my inner emotions. This has been in the context of ongoing trauma recovery therapy and healing and is explained in more detail here. Today, I share my experiences and photos of the various exhibits, because this is part of fulfilling my mission and vision to nourish the world with what nourishes me.
An important concept to understand about the exhibit is that the title - "go slow: woman on a journey" is also meant to guide the visitor's approach to the exhibit. Go slow. (Ok, slowly is grammatically correct, but slow it is, because that's what came from my heart). This exhibit is a journey through time and a journey into my story. And if you go slow enough, it can be a journey into your story. For that reason, it is important to design a journey like path rather than a straight line of mandalas. The very act of taking steps around the corner to see what's next evokes reflection and journey-making.
My first exhibit was part of the KC Crossroads First Friday in June 2015 - one year to the date I registered my new business with the state of Kansas - and contained 12 mandalas mounted on tall angled white boards. I promoted the event with Facebook posts and rack cards distributed to local businesses. The exhibit was on the fourth floor of a historic building, and people coming in were saying that they were told, on the way up, by people on the way down, to keep going, that it was worth it. Later, I was told repeatedly by friends and visitors they were really affected by the images and the associated commentary. One man in particular told me that "Release" (below) touched his heart in a way it had not been touched in a long time. He ended up over time ordering two print reproductions, proclaiming on receipt of them that they looked just like he remembered and they still had the power to touch his heart. How gratifying! How very very gratifying. I even played with the notion that I am worth climbing four flights of stairs. Wow.
My second exhibit was June 14th through July 9th 2016 at Images Art Gallery, where I am a member, as part of my being a featured artist for the month. This meant that my artwork displayed prominently at the front of the gallery. My paintings, prints and notecards filled the wall and window space, and "go slow: woman on a journey" occupied free standing space adjacent to that. Discovery and Uncovery were mounted on black angled grid panels, and Recovery on additional wall space. I was able to double the number of mandalas included in the exhibit from the previous year, which was a real blessing. I promoted the exhibit primarily through my Abundance Art Instagram and Facebook accounts and purchasing posts on HerLife Magazine. As well, this year I provided two new components: a printed introduction to the exhibit, as well as a means for visitors to order prints at the gallery. People took advantage of both. I also made myself present on several occasions to talk with visitors. One woman told me she totally "got it" and went on to say that she too was a trauma survivor. I think it felt good for both of us to be understood and be reminded that we are not alone.
From July 12th through July 22th, my third exhibit, really a continuation of the second, showed at Images Art Gallery. I very much appreciated the board's approval for this unprecedented extension, our hope being that it would bring additional visibility to the gallery, The exhibit was redesigned and mounted entirely on angled black grid panels. The journey through Discovery, Uncovery and Recovery involves walking back and forth around the panels, in a style similar to 2015.
As part of promoting this exhibit I purchased an eblast ad from HerLife Magazine, and as a member of InterUrbanArtHouse I submitted a feature for inclusion in their July newsletter.
Unfortunately, long story short, the exhibit had to be taken down urgently due to ceiling leak issues. Like life, our journeys don't go how we plan them. Thankfully no damaged occurred, and the mandalas and panels are safely packaged and stored for their next outing. In the meantime, you can still visit the exhibit here on my website.
So that's the story of the exhibit that grew from pain and hope come together, sparked by an inspired title long before it became a reality, and mixed with lots of love and support and healing. May each of you find inspiration and encouragement for your own life journeys.
How curious and delightful that my mandala exhibit began on a tiled floor mandala.