The Embrace of the Divine Feminine
A Collaboration with Lexa Chernin
Yoga Secrets, Kennett Square, PA
A beautiful evening was spent celebrating "the embrace of the divine feminine," which included story-telling, mandala-making, and sacred chanting during Navarathri, also known as the festival of nine nights.
In certain lineages within the Vedic tradition, the Divine Feminine is considered the universal creative power: the life-bestower, nourisher, comforter, protector, lover, and destroyer. She is the changeless reality of the universe and the source of change within. She is not the consort of male energy but its source. She is a guiding presence and gives supreme knowledge and liberation. She is the all-compassionate Mother. And perhaps, most importantly, the divine feminine that lies within each of us as the capacity for beauty and strength, fierceness, and creativity.
Albie's Elevator | Box Town
A Collaboration with WHYY-PBS Philadelphia, PA
Albie's Elevator, a WHYY-PBS television series, premiered in Summer 2023.
The show focuses on how preschoolers can solve their social and emotional problems through the lens of art. The main character, the macaroni and cheese-colored friend, Albie, with her puppet friends, explores her BIG feelings and seeks help from artists from different genres who inspire them to solve their problems.
In the episode "Box Town," Albie builds a city out of moving boxes but never EVER wants to take it down.
They visit me and my daughter, Nandita, as we make mandalas that aren't meant to last forever and learn that one of the things that makes the temporary art so unique is that it only lasts a short while.
Nandita and I are so grateful to be featured on WHYY-PBS and will always cherish our collaborative experience! We hope you enjoy watching our episode, "Box Town."
It felt surreal when I was contacted by WHYY's Community Relations Coordinator about their interest in featuring me in a new television series. I was honored to have had this opportunity and found the value of problem-solving through art in children at a young age fascinating!
We worked together on creating a PBS LearningMedia at-home curriculum for preschoolers with fun exercises that would motivate them to attempt mandala art either by themselves or with little help from their parents or guardians. This curriculum received a Public Media award for Educational Resources for the Community.
The night before filming, I spent five hours drawing my mandala outline with rice flour. Despite the physical challenges of sitting, squatting, standing, and kneeling for hours, I enjoyed the traditional way of making a mandala.
Since it was a children's show, my daughter, Nandita, also had a role while filming the segment. Initially, she only had two scripted lines, but she impressed the crew with her eloquent on-the-spot responses on mandala art. It's interesting how children quietly observe their parents and grasp everything like a sponge. It was undoubtedly a proud moment for me!
It was an absolute pleasure for us to work with the WHYY-PBS crew!
Celebration of Diwali, also known as the festival of lights
Cherry Street Pier, Philadelphia, PA
A Collaboration with Usiloquy Dance, Philadelphia, PA
Photos by Wide-Eyed Photography
Floor Mandala Drawing
Diwali @ Cherry Street Pier
Hosted by Usiloquy Dance Designs
November 6, 2021
I had the privilege of being invited to create a floor mandala at the Diwali event hosted by Usiloquy Dance Designs, a non-profit organization that promotes contemporary Indian classical dance in Philadelphia. Using a combination of white chalk, rice paste, white paint, colored sand, and fresh flowers, I crafted a 6' x 6' mandala by hand on the floor. During the event, I had the opportunity to speak about my work, my background, and the significance of mandala art.
The performances by the Usiloquy artists, led by the artistic director Ms. Shaily Dadiala, and the sitar player Devi Majeske, brought a festive spirit and cheer to the event, which reminded me of my home country, India. Overall, it was an honor to participate in such a wonderful celebration of Diwali.