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October 25, 2010

Hammer Museum Presents The Mandala Project: Oct 25 – Nov 7

Posted by Don Rose


The Mandala Project: October 25 – November 7, 2010 (First Public Event on October 26)

The Hammer Museum in Westwood Village, in partnership with Ari Bhöd — the American
Foundation for Tibetan Cultural Preservation — is pleased to present The Mandala Project. This two-
week program will feature the construction of a Tibetan sand mandala by a team of traditionally
trained Lamas visiting Los Angeles from the Thubten Choeling Monastery in Pharping, Nepal. The
mandala they create will be a sacred painting, following precise and ancient instructions passed
down over thousands of years. Millions of grains of colored sand will be sprinkled carefully on a flat
surface over an elaborate 10-day ceremony.

The mandala painting represents boundless compassion, purity and clarity. It is believed that
mandalas have the power to transform negativity and awaken altruism and compassion in the viewer.
Accompanying the sand mandala will be a series of architectural drawings of a proposed four story
mandala for Ari Bhöd by Los Angeles based architect Michael Rotondi, as well as a smaller three-
dimensional mandala, created by Pema Namdol Thaye, a master of Tibetan art. The project also
includes a Hammer Conversation with Rotondi and Thaye, and culminates in a ceremonial sweeping
of the sand and a concluding procession to the Pacific Ocean for the dispersal of the sand on
November 7, 2010.

The mandala is a profound, universal symbol that translates literally to “center and its surroundings”
and is a physical representation of our interdependence, or the notion that everything and everyone
is interlinked. Mandalas are found in many forms, but always include a circle, a central point, and
some form of symmetry. They can be created in sand, on paper or cloth, or built as 3-dimensional
models or buildings. The vivid painted mandalas of Tibet are the most widely known. There are only
a few three-dimensional mandalas in the world, due in part to the large commitment of time and
expertise needed to create them.

Traditionally created as a tool for visualization and meditation, every single detail of a mandala—
the design, the colors, and placement of symbols—is deliberate. The blueprints are considered
sacred, with many layers of deep meaning and positive representation. Before beginning, traditional
mandala artists generate the intention to benefit others and the motivation of compassion, which is
believed to infuse the art or structure with unique spiritual and sacred qualities.


Venerable Gelong Kalsang Rinpoche – Former Vajra Master of Rigdzin Drub-Pai Ghatsal, the retreat
center of His Holiness Chatral Rinpoche in Nepal, Gelong Rinpoche will be leading the traditional
ceremonies and creation of the sand mandala.

Venerable Lama Ngawang Thogmed – A master of ritual arts and a master mandala artist, Ven.
Lama Thogme is often sought out to train many of the monks of the Nyingma and Kagyu lineages at
monasteries throughout India and Nepal in the complex art of sand mandala making.

Lama Nawang Sampten Lhundrup – Master temple craftsman and ritual artist.

Lama Rinji Sherpa Tsewang – Assistant mandala artist.


Tuesday, October 26, 11am
The public is invited to watch the monks begin their work on the mandala.

Saturday, November 6, 2-7pm
Mandala Viewing
The public is invited to view the completed mandala before its dissolution the following day.

Sunday, November 7, 1pm
Hammer Conversations
Michael Rotondi & Pema Namdol Thaye
Architect and educator Michael Rotondi is the principal of RoTo Architecture, an award-winning firm
that creates unconventional structures that aim to dissolve the boundaries between design, science,
technology, and the fine arts. Rotondi co-founded Morphosis in 1972 and was director of the
Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). A master of Tibetan art, Pema Namdol Thaye
is renowned for his expertise in traditional Tibetan thangka painting, sculpture and the creation of
rare three dimensional mandalas. For more the 25 years, Pema has provided a vital contribution to
the world’s understanding of traditional Tibetan Art. All Hammer public programs are free.

Sunday, November 7, 3pm
Dissolution Ceremony & Procession to Pacific Ocean
The monks will perform a dissolution ceremony at 3pm, and at 3:30pm they will lead a procession to
the ocean. All are welcome to join the dissolution ceremony and procession, but you will need your
own transportation. Driving directions will be provided at the ceremony.


Ari Bhöd was founded by Venerable Lama Chödak Gyatso Nubpa to preserve the ancient Nyingma wisdom
tradition of Tibet. The Nyingma tradition, known as the Ancient Onis the original tradition developed in Tibet
by the great spiritual adept Padmasambhava in the ninth century. These teachings were preserved in Tibet in
an unbroken transmission for more than one thousand years. Its benefits have stood the test of time, the
methods proven effective in bringing forth positive qualities, especially altruism and compassion. It is our
aim to preserve, in a living environment, all essential aspects of this endangered world heritage so that it
remains a source of benefit for future generations of Tibetans and non-Tibetans alike.

Ari Bhöd’s mission is to preserve and transmit the priceless legacy of the ancient Tibetan Nyingma lineage
tradition, a sacred culture of peace that has been kept vital and effective through more than fifty generations
of lifelong practitioners and lineage masters. Ari Bhöd’s retreat center, Pema Drawa, is located on 475 acres in
the peaceful mountains of Tehachapi, California. Pema Drawa is the site for the construction of Zangdok Palri
U.S.A, a four-story monument to inspire compassion, transformation and peace. With offices in southern
California, Ari Bhöd’s principle programs and activities include:

• Traditional Tibetan Art and Architecture
• Meditation Practice and Ceremonies
• Text Translation and Publishing
• Tools for Peace™, an education program based on the principle of mandala


The Hammer Museum, a public arts unit of the University of California, Los Angeles, is dedicated to exploring
the diversity of artistic expression through the ages. Its collections, exhibitions, and programs span the
classic to the cutting-edge in art, architecture, and design, recognizing that artists play a crucial role in all
aspects of culture and society.

The museum houses the Armand Hammer Collection of Old Master, Impressionist, and Post-Impressionist
paintings and the Armand Hammer Daumier and Contemporaries Collection. The Hammer’s newest collection,
the Hammer Contemporary Collection, is highlighted by works on paper, particularly drawings and
photographs from Southern California. The museum also houses the Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts,
comprising more than 45,000 prints, drawings, photographs, and artists’ books from the Renaissance to the
present; and oversees the management of the Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden on the UCLA campus.

The Hammer presents major single-artist and thematic exhibitions of historical and contemporary art. It also
presents approximately ten Hammer Projects exhibitions each year, providing international and local artists
with a laboratory-like environment to create new work or to present existing work in a new context.

As a cultural center, the Hammer offers a diverse range of free public programs throughout the year, including
lectures, readings, symposia, film screenings, and music performances. The Hammer’s Billy Wilder Theater
houses these widely acclaimed public programs and is the new home of the UCLA Film & Television Archive’s
renowned cinematheque.


For current program and exhibition information call 310-443-7000 or visit www.hammer.ucla.edu.
Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, 11am – 7pm; Thursday, 11am – 9 pm; Sunday, 11am – 5 pm;
closed Mondays, July 4, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
Admission: $7 for adults; $5 for seniors (65+) and UCLA Alumni Association members; free for Museum
members, students with identification, UCLA faculty/staff, and visitors 17 and under. The Museum is free for
everyone on Thursdays.
Location/Parking: The Hammer is located at 10899 Wilshire Boulevard, at Westwood Boulevard. Parking is
available under the Museum. Rate is $3 for three hours with Museum validation.
Hammer Museum Tours: For group tour reservations and information, call 310-443-7041.