Ten-Year Celebration! Tibetan Artist Losang Samten in Residence

April 1, 2019

PHILADELPHIA, PA: Celebrate ten years of award-winning Tibetan sand mandala artist Losang Samten being in residence at the Philadelphia Folklore Project!

From Monday through Friday, April 29th to May 3rd, Losang Samten will be creating an image of the universe in colored sand. On Saturday, May 4th, he’ll preside over a dismantling ceremony. The Folklore Project invites the public to stop by every afternoon to observe, and to speak with Losang about the stories and messages embedded in this art of Tibet, his homeland. The designs and colors of each mandala have deep meaning, rooted in the teachings of the Buddha. Losang will be bringing the Green Tara mandala to life through his meditative and breathtaking artistic process. “Mandalas are healing for an individual's body, speech, mind and the environment,” Losang explains. The Green Tara is a deity who helps develop qualities such as compassion and loving-kindness.

“As one way of celebrating Losang’s tenth year of sharing his exquisite are with us,” explains Toni Shapiro-Phim, the Folklore Project’s Director of Programs, “the Philadelphia Folklore Project requested that Losang create this particular design. The nurturing of compassion and loving-kindness are ways to counter assaults on dignity and safety that so many communities and individuals in Philadelphia and beyond experience these days.”

Losang Samten is an artist, a teacher of meditation and spiritual director of the Tibetan Buddhist Center of Philadelphia. He escaped from Tibet in 1959 to Nepal, along with his father, mother, and sister. He eventually settled in Dharamsala, India, where he studied at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts, and, later, at Namgyal Monastery. At the monastery, he earned a Master's Degree in Philosophy and Debate, became a scholar of Sutra and Tantra, and also studied mandala-making.

A mandala is an intricate diagram of the universe or cosmos, in sacred terms. Buddhists and Hindus in South and Southeast Asia built temples as mandalas. Tibetan mandalas have been popular since around the 12th century, and the small-scale painted ones were especially loved for individual meditation. Some were painted on temple walls, while most were done on scrolls. Over the centuries, Tibetan monks created different mandalas with complex iconography, each with a different purpose, such as for healing, or to emphasize compassion, and so on.

On Saturday, May 4th, Losang will preside over a dismantling ceremony during which the mandala he so meticulously and beautifully created is ritually swept into a glass vase, and then transported to a body of water, where the sand is returned to nature. Please join Losang for this participatory event.

Losang Samten, Artist-in-Residence
The Philadelphia Folklore Project
735 S. 50 th Street, Philadelphia; www.folkloreproject.org; 215-726-1106

April 29th – May 3rd, 2:00 - 7:00 pm daily

Dismantling Ceremony: Saturday, May 4th, 3:00pm

The Philadelphia Folklore Project has, for more than a quarter of a century, been sustaining vital and diverse living cultural heritage in communities in our region through collaborative projects, research, documentation and education.

Funding for this program comes from The National Endowment for the Arts, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Philadelphia Cultural Fund, The Samuel Fels Fund, Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation, PECO and individual Philadelphia Folklore Project members.

CONTACT: Sinta Penyami Storms at sinta@folkloreproject.org - 215-726-1106