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  • Manju Sadarangani

Gayatri






Gayatri

गायत्री

Acrylic & Gold Leaf on Canvas

36” x 60” Triptych


In Memoriam Gift From Peter & Susan Henry


There is something so incredible about a commission. Many artists won’t take commissions because it drives them crazy to collaborate, it feels like an external limit on their creativity.


Personally, I am wild about commissions. They give me a real chance to connect with a soul, an intention, a space and community.


Each commission I paint is infused with meditation, with desire, with iccha. When Rebecca Henry asked me to create something for the larger studio space at Lighthouse Yoga, I took my time. This studio is like a temple for me, so I was determined to make this piece sacred.


This piece is a memorial; It is about the blessings of our ancestors and infusing their legacy into our life’s work.


We chose to center the Gayatri Mantra, a revered Sanskrit hymn from the Rigveda. It is an old school classic mantra, featured in Mandala 3 of the Rigveda, a prayer for enlightenment and wisdom. The OG. It also happens to be Rebecca's absolutely fav, she has a tattoo of the Gayatri mantra draped over her.


The Gayatri mantra is often invoked in times of transition, at dawn, at dusk, at ceremonies at the threshold of life's transitions to evoke confidence, joy and serenity. We wanted a piece that was large enough to command a large studio space. But at the same time I wanted this piece to have versatility, so that it can be seen horizontally, or separated apart into its three constituent panels without taking away from the meaning. We chose a sunset/sunrise color theme - yellows, oranges and blues.


Logistically this piece was definitely bigger than me. Keeping three canvases together so that I could paint them fluidly, contiguously was hilarious. This is got to be the one painting that has yielded a ridiculous amount of bloopers from collapsing on top of me.


All through this painting, twenty four lotus flowers bloom, unfolding with grace. The lotus, a symbol of purity and enlightenment in many spiritual traditions, pepper the composition, grounding it in earthly beauty. The twenty-four lotuses symbolize the mantra's 24 syllables, reminding us that we are all children of creation, meant to grow into our purpose.


The painting evokes a sense of contemplation and spiritual introspection. It invites the viewer to immerse themselves in the intricate details and absorb the profound energy emanating from the sacred mantra. I knew this work will be viewed at multiple angels by multiple people at different times of day. I really wanted the peace to continue to infuse the space with loving kindness, even in the darkness of savasana. So when the lights go out, the luminosity of the Gayatri mantra lingers.

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