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‘Magic’ of mandala art revealed during Surrey gallery talk in February

Also, Panchal Mansaram’s work will be explored in an online conversation Feb. 5
Kalyani Phadke’s “Lotus” mandala art. (submitted photo: Surrey Art Gallery)

The “magic” of mandala will be explored during Surrey Art Gallery’s next Thursday Artist Talk.

Burnaby-based artist Kalyani Phadke will speak at the Bear Creek-area gallery on Feb. 3, starting at 7:30 p.m., in a talk titled “Mandala—The Art of Mindfulness.” Admission is free, and proof of vaccination and government-issued photo ID is required.

Phadke has been a software engineer at Delta Controls over the last 15 years.

“A photography enthusiast, a skillful multi-cuisine cook and an avid reader, Phadke loves exploring different art forms to expand her knowledge and build self-awareness,” a bio elaborates. “Apart from the world of technology and art, she dons multiple hats at home as a wife, mother and daughter.”

She’s also developed a passion for mandala art, which means “circle” in the Sanskrit language. Traditionally, a mandala is a geometric design or pattern.

In her “illustrated and interactive” talk, Phadke will demonstrate the progression of a mandala evolving from a small circle to a detailed design, emphasizing its rhythmic and therapeutic aspects. She will also talk about the art form’s history and its close resemblance to the Indian art form Rangoli, both of which have a spiritual connection.

“The magic of mandala art lies in the process of creating it,” Phadke explained. “Mandala became my best friend during the pandemic. Its intricate nature might seem strenuous and difficult in the beginning, but it is quite the opposite. You get into the flow easily by following a rhythm, repeating patterns, and extrapolating your imagination.”

She added, the biggest gift that the process gave her was “to stay in the moment,” which helped her overcome stress at work as well as at home.

Surrey Art Gallery Association (online at hosts the monthly Thursday Artist Talks at Surrey Art Gallery, located at 13750 88 Avenue. For more event details, call 604-501-5566.

Meantime, the gallery’s current travelling exhibition, “P.Mansaram: The Medium is the Medium is the Medium,” will be explored during an hour-long online conversation on Saturday, Feb. 5, starting at 2 p.m. on the gallery’s YouTube page. The virtual event, co-presented with Indian Summer Festival, will feature Indu Vashist, Toleen Touq and Deepali Dewan, along with moderator Sirish Rao.

For the Indian-born Panchal Mansaram, who died in 2020 in Burlington, Ont., at age 86, “repetition was art practice, repetition was meditation, repetition was spirituality, repetition was falling in love, and as he said, repetition was a way to finding god,” an event advisory says.

“We are so excited to be the last stop of this tour and introduce British Columbia audiences to this important yet overlooked artist,” says Jordan Strom, Surrey Art Gallery curator of exhibitions. “Over the course of his career, Mansaram developed a distinct and vital response to modernism that was unabashedly Canadian and, at the same time, globally minded.”

On view until March 20, the exhibit is co-organized by the Art Museum at the University of Toronto and South Asian Visual Arts Centre. Admission is free.

Also showcased at SAG this winter is “On Air,” featuring works from the gallery’s permanent collection that illustrate “the ways that media works to shape our worldviews – for better or worse.”

• READ MORE: ‘On Air’: Rise of mass-media culture explored at Surrey Art Gallery with an interactive installation.

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Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news for Surrey Now-Leader and Black Press Media
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