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Embed code for: Mandala: An Exploration of Gender
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My completed Mandala.
Mandala: An Exploration of Gender
Panel 1; Title
This panel isn't as much about gender; Rather its representative of interconnectedness while remaining different.
The overlapping sticks represent relationships and how we are always connected to others, while the varying background colors represent our potential differences, such as gender. For the design of the piece, i wanted to evoke the idea of a mosaic.
Panel 2; Historical Mandala Analysis
This panel is about growth and change. Much like the Bodhi tree, we are always growing and changing. Similar to how Buddha gained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree, we can gain enlightenment about ourselves through honest self-reflection. The Lotus flowers are historically based on the seven bodhisattvas, but their meaning in the piece is a visual representation of important realizations and decisions.
For many people, gender identity is something inherently known. However, there are others who take years to understand their identities. In both of these cases, an individual’s identity becomes a core root of who they are, and blossoms into something beautiful.
Panel 3; Historical Mandala Analysis
The primary historical elements that this panel was inspired by were the Vajradhara principle, in which illumination, truth, and cognition are combined into one element before splitting into two. These are typical dichotomies, which include the moon and sun, mother and father, and man and woman. Other elements are also present, such as the composition of the elements aligning with their order in the composition of the Buddhist universe. One element in particular is the lotus flower atop the head, which is representative of “The inexhaustible matrix of all that is, that was, and will be.” Utilizing these historical elements, this piece is about connection to the world.
In my reading I found several instances of male-female dichotomies. The figure in this panel can be described as both male and female, before splitting. As they are gaining illumination, truth, and cognition, they identify with the mystical lotus and become one with the universe.
Panel 4; Perception
The layout for this panel is based on the vase/person optical illusion. In this, the two figures depicted embody cultural aspects associated with both male and female. Most people embody cultural aspects associated with both male and female, or masculine and feminine elements in the way they present themselves. For some people, it is integral to their identity that the way they present themselves is in a more androgynous manner. It is up to the perception of the individual observing what gender they embody, and we unconsciously do this every day.
Panel 5; Abstraction
Panel five is based on abstraction, and is also themed around the idea that people embody both male and female or masculine and feminine. Pink and Blue are colors culturally associated with gender identity. The branching blue and pink elements are representative of the ‘opposing’ elements we have within ourselves, while the purple center represents the blurring of the cultural line between male and female.
Panels 6 & 7; Special Topic: Gender in Carl Jung's Patient Mandalas
Panel six and seven are my special topic panels, and these two are connected pieces. My special topic is the depiction of gender in Carl’s Jung’s work. Primarily analyzing how gender was depicted in his patients’ mandalas.
Many of these patients used what Jung would call Cultural archetypes unconsciously when designing their mandala. The figures depicted in both of these panels are based on four specific archetypes. In panel six, we have a depiction of the wise old man and Anima archetypes. The wise old man is a common archetype to see in the media, and is associated with wisdom and sound judgement.
Panel seven depicts the Great Mother and Animus Archetypes. The Great mother is also a common cultural figure present in media, and Jung associated this cultural aspect with creation and destruction, as it is mothers that can create and take away life. When talking about the anima and animus, these are both cultural archetypes and a representation of opposing gender elements. Jung associated the Anima with feelings in men and thinking in women.
Another aspect present in these mandalas is religious elements. Both of these figures are depicted in a male/female pair, similar to adam and eve. The inclusion of serpent-like figures is common, and I’ve included these snakes around the border.
Panel 8; Tao of Architecture 3D Model
This panel is based off the Tao of architecture’s principle of repeated elements. The repeated steps become a repeated element, balancing the piece, while the changing shape add variance to the piece. The light and shadows created by the sail also create variance in the design.
Panel 9; Your Choice
This panel actually depicts myself and three of my characters from stories I’ve written. Each of these figures have gender identities outside of the gender binary. I myself am genderfluid, along with the individual standing next to me, Robyn. Adriel, The figure with the red hair is Agender, and Jamie, the one at the end, identifies as non-binary. The two words, Rebel Rebel, are associated with one of my favorite songs by David Bowie. In it, the individual being sung about is described as being neither male nor female.
“You've got your mother in a whirl
She's not sure if you're a boy or a girl
Hey babe, your hair's alright
Hey babe, let's go out tonight”
"Rebel, Rebel" David Bowie
I personally write about characters who don’t align with the gender binary to help normalize and raise awareness of other identities. There are people out there who don’t have a lot of representation of people similar to themselves, and I hope to give that representation in my stories.