In Endurance, we created mandalas for our first milestone. The purpose of this piece was to represent what we have learned about vision in the Morpheus section of the course. In Morpheus, we studied the endurance of explorers to learn how vision guides a journey. We recycled previous assignments, such as reading logs and a flavor experience, to re-examine the lessons and make connections. I chose to make an abstract painting for my mandala because it’s an art form that connects to my personal vision. Here is an image of the my mandala:

EP Mandala

I would like to further explain the meaning of the mandala’s design. It was made on three wooden boards and painted in a folk-art style. I read Kon-Tiki, the story of Thor Heyerdahl’s expedition across the Pacific Ocean on a raft, and I wanted the mandala to have a look related to setting of the book. Heyerdahl led the expedition because he wanted to prove that people of the Polynesian Islands originated from South America, so I derived the construction of the mandala from the story. The face of the Inca sun god, Kon-Tiki, inspired the design for the middle rings. The center is a chrysanthemum, which symbolizes my prison and freedom. A chrysanthemum in Chinese culture symbolizes happiness, but in Japanese culture it symbolizes perfection. I saw that this double-meaning fit in with my idea of prison and freedom because it relates to both my happiness and the prison of striving for perfection. There are two jade-colored rings in the mandala, which represents my vision for a cleaner environment. As mentioned, Kon-Tiki’s eyes and nose defined the geometric shapes in the middle rings. The outer ring is patterned with four colors because it connects to the first solo we had in class with flavors. During the solo, we were given four flavors that we did not enjoy to taste. To keep myself from feeling like the challenge was too hard, I mixed all the flavors and saved my favorite flavor for last. The reason for the patterned ring is that it represents my experience with avoiding bad flavors in my life. The process of painting the pattern also relates because it was the most tedious part of the painting.

I’m proud of connecting this project to myself and my personal interests. Throughout the school year, I have taken opportunities to learn more about Japanese culture and past civilizations. I feel that I was able to express this interest in a way that relates to my vision and Thor Heyerdahl’s vision.

I learned that creating a mandala is a helpful method to focus on what one’s vision means. Considering Heyerdahl’s vision, I understood why he was willing to face the challenge and risk of cross the Pacific — the strength of his vision made all the confining fears of reality disappear for the purpose of pursuing a question he had to resolve. Personally, I noticed the themes I stuck with and why they were significant to me. Overall, this project consolidated the elements of our class activities to understand the concept of vision.