Mandala to honor the Haitian-American community and help raise money for the Future Leaders Scholarship Fund
The word “mandala” is Sanskrit for “circle,” and usually refers to a ritual design based on a circle with certain symmetries. As part of many ancient traditions, including Buddhist and Hindu practices, mandalas are created for guided meditation and prayer. Many Christian images, such as rose windows, as well as Native American medicine wheels, have parallels as well. The psychologist Carl Jung helped popularize an expanded view of the mandala as a symbol of the “Self,” and I carry on in this tradition of the mandala as a spiritual and creative practice.
About nine years ago, I started doodling in the round, typically with four-sided symmetry, and found myself creating mandalas. I initially focused on the visual patterns and geometry, but as I drew more, I began expressing a wide variety of intentions. Sometimes, I draw them to capture the beauty of a place I’m visiting, like sea glass and shells at the beach. Sometimes, I let myself express an intense emotion, like the frustration of parenting when my husband is out of town and everything seems to be going wrong at home. I’ve made them to explore my deepest spiritual experiences, like being moved to tears by a spiritual song. I’ve made them to celebrate weddings, births, and the lives of dear ones who have passed on. I’ve made them to promote peace and healing.
And now I’m making one because I recently met Mr. Saurel Quettan in a workshop in New York City. He told me about his role as the President of the Georgia Haitian-American Chamber of Commerce. I was inspired by his sharing of the mission of this organization to empower the Haitian-American community, and immediately wondered how I could support that mission. Later in our conversation, I mentioned my practice of drawing mandalas, and he looked at me with a smile and asked, “Will you draw one for me?” I do love being asked that.
This is how I came to embark upon drawing a mandala to honor the Haitian-American community and help raise funds for the Future Leaders Scholarship Banquet on July 15. I spoke with Mr. Quettan and asked him to share his thoughts on what are some of the most familiar and iconic cultural images that would resonate with the Haitian-American community, and I am incorporating many of them into my design. I offer this piece with deep appreciation for the beauty of Haiti, its people, and its history. I hope it inspires a generous contribution to the Scholarship Fund.
To see more of my mandalas, and preview the GAHCCI mandala visit my FaceBook page at april.castoldi or on Instagram (tenorsmax).