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Tibetan sand art exhibit makes way to area
Tibetan Buddhist monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery are currently constructing a Mandala Sand Painting in the Gallo Center for the Arts lobby in Modesto. - photo by Photo Contributed

The creation of an ancient Tibetan art form is currently on display at the Gallo Center for the Arts.

Tibetan Buddhist monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery are constructing a Mandala Sand Painting in the Center’s lobby. Work began Tuesday and will continue through Saturday. The exhibit is free to the public.

Sandpainting is the process of laying out millions of colored grains of sands to form an image of a mandala, which means Circle in Sanskrit.

The monks use a wooden platform with geometric shapes and spiritual symbols to form the outline of the art piece.

According to Tibetan tradition, a completed mandala is used as a tool to re-consecrate the earth and all the people. Prior to the initial work on Tuesday, the monks consecrated the site and called for the forces of goodness through chants, music and mantra recitations.

It is traditional to destroy the work soon after it is completed, symbolizing the impermanence of life.

Half of the sands will be distributed to the audience during the closing ceremony at 5 p.m. Saturday. The remaining half will be taken to La Loma Park and deposited in the river. The spiritual aspect of the mandala says that the waters carry the healing blessing to the ocean and from there it spreads to the world.

The mandala exhibit will be on display in the lobby from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. today; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday; and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The closing ceremony is at 5 p.m. Saturday in the lobby and is in conjunction with the International Festival.

In addition to watching the monks complete the mandala, patrons will have the opportunity to try sand painting themselves at a separate station in the lobby.

The exhibit is also in conjunction with a performance by The Mystical Arts of Tibet: Sacred music Sacred Dance for World Healing, led by the multiphonic singers of the Drepung Loseling Monastery. The performance is set for 7 p.m. Friday.

The show is comprised of nine selections believed to generate energies conductive to world healing by combining ancient temple music and dance.

Tickets range from $10 to $45. For tickets or more information, visit or call 338-2100.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.