The Mandala of Peace floods the Parramatta CBD with vibrancy and colour. The magnificent mural was co-designed with the refugee community alongside professional artivists Dan Cydes and Xander 'Knoswet' Zee as part of the Welcome Walls 2017 initiative. It is made up of universal symbols of peace and unity that encourages each of us to reconnect with the human story. It is also a celebration of the natural world that we all share and hold common.

Xander Zee is an emerging Australian artist / artivist  passionate about using his skills as a muralist, public artists and designer to encourage positive change, education and conversation. His artwork is best described as expressive street style portraiture. Dan Cydes is a young artist / artivist from the Blue Mountains who's exceptional talent has seen him enjoy success working alongside some of Australia's most prominent muralists including Scott Nagy and Krimsone. His work is a celebration of our experience and connection to the natural world, often brimming with engaging characters and hypnotising calligraphy. This collaboration showcases the ability of both young artists to work with community and co-create powerful public art.

"As this work was created from and inspired by the voices of many refugees and migrants in our community, we both honour and bring to light this ongoing sociopolitical issue. The two figures on either side of the mural represent two strangers reaching out to each other from the far side of freedom. Their union within the community depends first upon understanding, promising the values of inclusion, togetherness, and cohesion.

Together, all of these symbols and images reflect the rich cultural diversity within our community in Parramatta and aims to send a message of peace and welcome out to the world. This work celebrates our diverse array of cultural heritage, languages, stories, and understandings we share together. When combined, the force of unity transcends all. A mandala is a spiritual symbol representing the universe within a circular pattern.

The mandala designed for this mural begins with the shapes and colours of the indigenous flag, to represent the continuous wisdom and compassion of our native cultures. Much like a circle, it has no start or finish. On top of this foundation, in the centre lies two blue lotus flowers - an Eastern symbol for peace, unity, wisdom, and love. In front of the flowers, two hands are outstretched toward each other, to symbolise the importance of human connection. Looking deep into each others eyes, the power of acknowledgement and understanding holds the ‘peace’ in place. This awe-invoking imagery was inspired by Michelangelo’s ‘creation of Adam’, and alludes to the sharing of creativity, knowledge and wisdom, while also reflecting in this context the creative force born from the connection between two strangers.

This imagery communicates cooperation and connection, imagining a society in which we all create together as one. The next layer of the mandala shows native kingfishers, to represent the freedom and expansiveness of the Australian bush land, which provides us a sense of belonging. Opposite the kingfishers are two wolves, reminding us of the power of brotherhood that lies in nature. the calligraphy written in English, Arabic and Nepalese and says, “One Love, One Family,” with the Arabic word “Ishq” in the middle - denoting the divine love that connects us all. The outer ring reads “om mani padme hum,” which is a Tibetan peace mantra."

- Xander 'knoswet' Zee and Dan Cydes

Collectively the 3 large scale murals took 2 weeks to complete, 70 litres of Taubman's Exterior paint and 65 Sugar spray cans to cover as well as one heavy duty Kennard's Scissorlift. They were coated with clear primer that extends the life span of the murals and colours and protects the work from graffiti. Out partners were fundamental in ensuring the success of this mural and we feel extremely lucky to be working with like minded people who understand the importance of public art in shaping our future communities. 

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Welcome Walls 2017 was a huge success and we can't wait to see what next year brings to the table! If you would like to be a part of Welcome Walls 2018 or work with the Welcome Walls artivists please drop us an email or give us a call!

Read the Welcome Walls Article by The Daily Telegraph.