Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Urban River Arts Mandala Dismantling

Last Wednesday evening, visitors to the recently opened art space at 395 Flatbush Extension were treated to a special event at the space occupied by Urban River Arts, a community-based non-profit art organization founded by Kimberly Carmody on St. Marks Avenue in Crown Heights in February 2009.


In October, Carmody and members of the community began creating a 12-foot wide circular urban mandala on the floor, starting with a simple chalk outline made with a large scale compass, and gradually adding color and texture to the design by laying down found and recycled objects in an intentional way.  In Tibetan tradition, Buddhist monks create sand paintings in the circular shape of mandalas as a form of meditation.  After completion, the sand designs are swept away and returned to the ocean.


In a similar gesture of impermanence, Wednesday evening was the dismantling ceremony for Urban River Arts' urban mandala project. Visitors and people who had a hand in the project gathered together to learn more about mandalas and to take in the impressive array of colorful found and collected objects before taking it apart piece by piece.  It was quite a sight to see the huge project taken apart just as methodically as it had been put together, and it was great to see a Crown Heights-based artist engaged in such exciting work!


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