Culture Weekly

Mandala mania

September 28 - October 4, 2022
Gulf Weekly Mandala mania
Gulf Weekly Mandala mania
Gulf Weekly Mandala mania

Gulf Weekly Mai Al Khatib-Camille
By Mai Al Khatib-Camille

 The Mandala isn’t just beautiful to look at, but also an empowering art form that is believed to provide its designer with a sense of peace, balance and serenity… and for Bahraini resident Chloé Tormo Gebran, it was an outlet for meditation and creativity.

The Mandala - which means ‘circle’ in the ancient Sanskrit language of Hinduism and Buddhism - is a geometric configuration of symbols that come in various types and sizes and is commonly circular with a dense point at the centre.

Over the years, the captivating circular creations has served people around the world differently. Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung, for example, considered making Mandalas an effective form of art therapy to calm and comfort people struggling with mental health issues.

For Chloe, it was a means of meditation as well as a new passion that would change her world.

“Mandala art is often used to meditate as you focus on what you are doing and creating, so it helps you disconnect while you are drawing,” said the 35-year-old French expatriate living in Jidhafs. “We create the design from scratch, then decorate and colour it in. I find this art relaxing, creative and satisfying. Also, it teaches you patience as it is not an art that you can rush. You have to be precise when you want to have a beautiful outcome. As a perfectionist, it is something that I like.”

She first learned about the geometric design in 2019 at L’Atelier Art Lounge where she was working. One of the owners introduced her to the art form so that she can organise and hold a Mandala workshop.

“I fell in love with this art,” said Chloe, who worked in the hospitality, customer service, administration and events in France and Bahrain. 

“I started drawing Mandalas every day in different hues including in monochrome and colour as well as different shapes. I did teach my first workshop when I felt confident and it was a success.

“After that, I started to explore several mediums to draw my Mandalas as well as different sizes.”

According to Mandala experts, there are common symbols in most designs that also represent Buddha’s presence of mind in abstract forms such as a jewel, flower, tree or wheel.

The centre of the Mandala is a dot that represents a part of humanity and there are dozens of geometrical patterns and lines surrounding that focal point that symbolises the universe. The outer circular boundary of the Mandala represents the cyclic nature of human life.

Some of the most commonly used symbols within Mandalas include the sun, which represents the universe and symbolises energy and life, as well as the lotus, which is a sacred flower in Buddhism that depicts balance and the human effort to reach enlightenment. Triangles are also popular. Those facing upwards represent energy and action while the ones pointed downwards signify the pursuit of knowledge and creativity.

Bells are also symbolic of emptying the mind to create space for clarity and wisdom, while the eight-spoked wheel representing the Eightfold Path of Buddhism that allows for rebirth and liberation.

After Chloe lost her job due to the pandemic, she turned to the art that sparked joy in her heart and soon it became her livelihood.

“At first, it was for work but then it became my passion which I wanted to share,” she added.

Her Mandalas can be seen on a beach in Zanzibar in giant form, in different homes across the kingdom as well as on perfume bottles at a luxury retail outlet in a popular mall. She even had a live Mandala painting show for a special party at an Irish restaurant.

Chloe loves painting on plywood, medium-density fiberboards, walls, paper and canvas as well as digitally. She uses acrylic paints and Posca markers for all her artwork. She even creates Mandala as wooden wall décor from her studio at home.

“I hope people appreciate Mandalas for the beauty that they are,” she added.

For details, follow @chloe_s_corner and @da2ira on Instagram.

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