A seed and fertility themed mandala took shape in Roberts Creek last week as the 17th annual community art project drew hundreds to paint when the sun came out on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
“There’s been a bit of rain, but if you have a theme of fertility and seeds, then you’re calling for a deluge,” said Erica Snowlake, organizer of the mandala painting and Mannafestival that followed, along with co-organizer Rob Marion.
Marion’s been the mandala designer and lead artist since the project’s inception in 1997. It started as a way to cover over negative graffiti on the pavement near the beach at the end of Roberts Creek Road. It’s now become a much-anticipated public art project that for some holds spiritual meaning.
Each year the mandala has a different theme; last year it was bees and their importance in the ecosystem. This year, seeds and fertility came to mind for Marion.
“For one thing Rob was married on here a month earlier and looking for his fertile marriage, so that’s part of it. And also seeds are a big world issue now,” Snowlake said.
“We’re all thinking about saving seeds, growing our own seeds, heirloom seeds, and food security is one of the major issues of our time. So again the mandala ties in.”
The centre of the mandala features three seed pods, around which the design was built, and it offers more than 500 spaces for the public to paint in.
“Seeds and DNA is the image,” Marion explained. “There are seeds and then a DNA spiral going up, a double helix, so it has a lot of movement. That’s really what I was trying to achieve. It seems to be twisting around itself even though it’s not.”
Public painters were impressed with the design when they showed up en masse Tuesday to make their mark.
“We counted around 240 people out on Tuesday,” Marion said. “It was a crazy first day as usual.”
Throughout the week when the weather allowed, people of all ages came to add their painting to the project, before the Mannafestival started on Saturday to celebrate the completion of the mandala.
“It’s a whole day of local music and dancing,” Snowlake said.
This year’s project was funded in large part by a $2,800 grant from the Sunshine Coast Regional District, Marion said, noting the project can cost upwards of $4,000 depending on the design and how much paint is needed.
Gibsons Building Supplies, where the paint was purchased, also gave some in-store credit to the project this year.
Donations to the project can be made at any Sunshine Coast Credit Union to the Roberts Creek Mandala Society.
Learn more about the annual community mandala project on Facebook under Roberts Creek Community Mandala.
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