(Photo: “Mandala of Desires (Blue Lotus Wish Tree)” sculpture dress in peace silk and eco friendly textile ink, Mandali Mendrilla, 2015.)
The Mandala of Desires (Blue Lotus Wish Tree) dress needs little introduction, having been exhibited at the China Art Museum in Shanghai, in 2015, as well as having received considerable media coverage. The Mandala of Desires is the second in Mandali Mendrilla’s Wish Tree Dress series.
If not familiar with this sculpture dress, click here to read more about it.
The mood board begins with a meditation on the Goloka Yantra Mandala diagram representing the Goloka planet. Goloka, as described in an ancient Vedic hymn, Sri Brahma Samhita, is a spiritual planet presided by the Radha – Krishna deity, wherein, along with other beings, reside unlimited wish fulfilling cows and wish fulfilling trees. That particular mandala, as described in the second verse of the fifth chapter of the Brahma Samhita (painted on the dress in Devanagari script), is shaped like a lotus flower with thousands of petals. Goddess Radha is said to carry a wish fulfilling blue lotus in her hand.
Mandalas, the thousand petalled lotus and wish trees are well known to eastern traditions, like Hinduism and Buddhism, and carry many meanings. Certain Yantras are considered two dimensional manifestations of the sound of mantras. It is said that at the top of the head of a human being resides a thousand petalled lotus, or the Sahasrara chakra.
I constructed a thousand petalled lotus petticoat to support the dress, inspired by the layered glass work of a Dutch sculptor Bert Van Loo, whom I had the pleasure of meeting in Amsterdam, as him and his wife were dear friends of my husband’s late mother. Amsterdam is where Mr. Bert has his atelier and where most of his work is exhibited by the Gemeente. His work is very much appreciated in China as well – which is an interesting coincidence as I had just met Mr. Bert several months prior to commencing work on the Mandala of Desires.
In the creation of the dress, I was also influenced by a visit to the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, the painting named Sunflowers, and especially by the way the artist captured the energy of the sun, pretty much in a way in which a Mandala captures the energy and vibration of a mantra, and the innocent, joyful and unassuming way he signed the painting with a simple ‘Vincent’. So, I also signed my dress with a simple ‘Mandali’. In fact, that’s when I decided to, when possible, simplify the way I mark my work even more and only use the butterfly symbol, either as a Chinese Jade stamp mark that I had carved in Shanghai and the Jade Buddha Temple, or as a digital symbol.