BLUE mandalas drawn by refugees from around the world are sending the message of peace, in a project initiated by Simply Blue!
The non-profit social art project started by German art therapist Rita Eckart has collected over 5,000 free-hand mandala-like designs made from blue ink and ink eraser or white pen.
About 2,000 of the art works are now on display at L’atelier Rouge-The Red Studio at The School, Jaya One in Petaling Jaya.
The four-member Simply Blue! Malaysia Project Team is led by project manager Apple Wong.
Other team members are treasurer Agnes See, public relations and media personnel Cynn Chong and designer Goh Bee Fong.
See said the colour blue was chosen as it was synonymous with peace, while the mandala design was chosen by Eckart after witnessing how Buddhist monks in Nepal created mandalas in the monastery to forget the destructive environment outside.
“It started in April last year, at a time when there was a refugee crisis in many countries.
“There was a lot of loss, grief and trauma all over the world. Eckart wanted the refugees who have settled to also feel the inner freedom and tranquillity enjoyed by the monks, and started this project in the south of Germany and expanded to other parts of the world through volunteers in the next five months.”
There are works by refugees from 56 countries.
The art was made in many places, including refugee shelters, studios, airports, park benches, prisons, community halls and schools.
“There are many shades of blue and many designs made by many different people from different places, but when arranged together, it looks well together and gives the message that we are all one,” she said, adding that some artworks have been sold while others were on exhibition in Europe.
This is the first exhibition in Asia, and they will announce if they bring it to other Asian countries.
Chong said the use of ink eraser also gave the sense of freedom to the artist.
“When the blue ink is applied to the 15cm by 15cm paper and the ink eraser is used to create the design, the artist can feel a sense of freedom by removing the blue ink and revealing a beautiful design in white.
“We do not discriminate the designs, there is no good or bad work, and everything was an expression of the artist themselves.
“As the artworks will fade over time, we will be documenting them in a catalogue,” said Chong.
Some designs have also been made into postcards for sale.
The normal-size postcards are priced at RM20 for a pack of four while the European-size postcards are RM5 each.
Proceeds from the sale will be used to cover the cost of the exhibition and production of the catalogues.
The Simply Blue! Exhibition ends on July 15. Opening hours are between 11am and 8pm.
For details, call 03-7960 7253.