Building connection one heart at a time
Building connection one heart at a time

Transformation Through Creativity

Artist Kristina Rushkovskaya on mandalas and meditation
11.18.2021
Transformation Through Creativity

Kristina Rushkovskaya is an Orientalist artist who has been creating unique mandas for more than 10 years already. They are not only artworks but also an ancient tool of human interaction with a person’s ‘unconscious self’. Many psychoanalysts use them in their practise following the example of Carl Gustav Jung.

Кристина-Рушковская_0T.jpg Kristina Rushkovskaya
Orientalist artist, creator of original mandalas

Kristina Rushkovskaya’s works were exhibited at the Zurab Tsereteli Art Gallery and the gallery of the Kraft-Pavlova Foundation. The author’s pieces of art are included in collections of people from different countries including Deva Premal and Miten, Sati Kazanova, Ekaterina Plotko, Ivan Vyrypaev, and many other distinguished art contributors and connoisseurs.

The artist believes that a properly created mandala can people harmonize their life goals with their ‘unconscious selves’. That connection can be achieved thanks to overcoming the mental barriers and working through intuitive creativity. In her interview with the Global Women Media news agency, the artist talked about the process of creating such artworks and shared her vision of the healing effects of drawing, the nature of human energy, and the spiritual depth of art.

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– What does art mean to you? How did your creative path start?

– For me, art is a very extensive and multifaceted concept. It includes not only pictures in galleries, music by great composers, and literature from the list of world classics. Art is a way of human interaction with the external and internal worlds. That is a method of understanding details and conscious contemplation. It should be noted that an artist is not just someone who creates artworks but any person whose energy is directed towards creation.

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My professional path of an artist started more than 10 years ago. That was when I first saw mandalas. They were paintings that moved, inspired, and excited me so much that I wanted to understand how they were created. Their effect seemed really incomprehensible, magical, and completely different from any other piece of art.

For a long time, I have been studying the history of mandalas and symbolism. I turned to psychology and explored the approaches of different experts and researchers. Of course, I wanted to try to create such an artwork. It turned out that creating a mandala gives no less impressions than watching it. However, to make that possible, a person must first become that very artist in the broad sense of the word. He or she must be able to be sensitive to him- or herself and the surrounding world.

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– What is a mandala? What is its principle of working?

– It’s certainly not a topic for one conversation but I’ll try to explain the essence of this kind of art briefly. There are many definitions of mandala but they all somehow lead to the fact that it is a centred circular image conveying some spiritual meaning.

The circle itself is one of the most ancient symbols in human history. Throughout history, people have given it deep meaning by associating it with such vital elements as the sun or the moon. This explanation of the influence of that shape on people may seem naïve. Today, it only complements the scientific arguments associated with the research by psychologists and neural specialists.

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Circles are actively used in different religious traditions as a tool for ceremonies. For example, in Tibetan Buddhism, mandalas are made of colour sand. It takes monks several days to create them. That is a very beautiful and fascinating process.

Wassily Kandinsky, Russian painter, devoted much time to studying the influence of different shapes on the consciousness and subconsciousness of people. According to him, a circle was the embodiment of the deepest point. That shape calms people down and harmonizes their psychological state.

Mandalas are unique artworks thanks to not only their ancient character and deep symbolism but also their effectiveness in working with the unconscious.

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– How can you describe the process of mandala creation? That is not only a creative activity requiring artistic skills but also a peculiar meditation. Is it true?

– Yes, it is. When I started creating mandalas, I spent the majority of time on the technique, the fulfilment of my artistic idea, and drawing different elements. Today, I do all that almost automatically. Meaningfulness is the most important, challenging, and interesting aspect for me today. Each mandala symbolizes something special. Artists always internally live the ideas that they put into the work. If a mandala is created for a specific person, it is important to express the richness, the colours, and the elements that can echo in a person’s heart and affect his or her emotional state. Only then the mandala will ‘work’ properly.

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When touching upon some ideas within the creative process, we inevitably absorb part of them. The meaning of mandalas lies in the fact that they are always based on spiritual and good messages. That is why I often recommend people to try that creative activity.

It doesn’t matter much how well your artistic skills are developed. Intuitive drawing and simultaneous immersion into a meditative state contribute positively to a person’s internal world.

There is an interesting meditation in Buddhism aimed at focusing your attention on those deities or specific people whose qualities you would like to adopt. During that process, a person can ‘try on’ the traits that seem important and valuable to him or her. Thus, a person carries out a lot of inner work leading to a profound transformation. A similar story occurs with mandalas. When creating such an image or looking at it, people concentrate on the ideas important to them.

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– As you noted, mandalas make it possible to carry out serious work related to the ‘unconscious self’ of a person. What does it give? Why is it important?

For a long time, I have been interested in the topic of changing reality and choosing a happier way of life. Thanks to working with mandalas, I understood the possibility of doing that. The interaction with the ‘unconscious self’ plays an important role in that.

If we observe a person from birth to adulthood, we can notice that even in childhood his or her appearance is predetermined genetically. One can see the unique features of a person already from infancy: the shapes of eyes, nose, and other features of appearance. They make it possible to imagine how one will look in the future. It must be said that our body has a rather strict ‘program’.

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The same concerns the human psyche. If we observe ourselves, we can notice some repetitive and stereotypical reactions and thoughts that create our reality. In other words, there are certain scenarios embedded in our psyche. Unfortunately, they do not always lead to a happy life. But the good news is that ‘mental programs’ are more flexible than ‘body programs’: they can be changed. That gives us a certain freedom of choice.

‘Mental programs’, patterns of human reactions to any situation, are stored in the unconscious sphere. That is why it is so important to be able to work with this part of one’s personality.

To reach the ‘unconscious self’, we need tools. Mandalas and art in general are among the most effective ones. The reason is that the ‘unconscious self’ speaks not the language of logic but the language of images.

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– Today you expand the scope of your art and create not only mandalas but also portraits. Are these works also filled with a special meaning?

– That is only the beginning of my further path and I am very curious to see what it will result in. Portraits are not as abstract as mandalas. However, they are also a kind of energetic image.

We all see the people around us differently. Two artists can’t paint exactly the same portrait of the same person. That is caused by not only their style and techniques but also the way they see the inner world and the energy of the model.

Portraits are not limited to copying the external features of a person. It is very interesting for me to try to convey the inner world of a person through the resulting picture.

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It is always important for me to create works both filled with spiritual meaning and able to become a good example of interior decoration and fit harmoniously into the home or work space. That applies to mandalas as well as portraits.

I believe that art should not be stored in some dark closed places. It should form the environment, in which people live. The magical quality of artworks lies in the fact that they can influence our mood, our state of mind, and even our thoughts. If we surround ourselves with art echoing in our hearts, it will certainly make our lives happier.

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– You are a person who is very sensitive to other people, their energies, and their inner world. What kind of energy do women have? Is it different from men's?

– Of course, it is! As a metaphor, I would take the story of Shiva and Shakti from Hindu mythology as an example. These are the two divine foundational energies of the world, which symbolise the masculine and feminine. Shiva is the masculine energy representing a powerful potential in a state of static chaos. Shakti is the feminine energy capable of giving shape and direction. Like a sail and the wind, they merge into a powerful current moving towards the goal rapidly.

Women are naturally endowed with soft power: they can inspire, guide, and harmonize.

At the same time, it is important to understand that women’s energy has different types. For example, in Hinduism, one can find images of such goddesses as Lakshmi, the symbol of the energy of abundance, Saraswati, who symbolizes creative energy, and Durga, the embodiment of the energy of destruction. The feminine beginning can acquire different forms. That is why any energy requires mindfulness and wisdom in its application.

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– What art inspires you? Do you have any favourite artists?

– I enjoy different artistic branches. Interestingly, I once again enjoy the works of the artists who inspired me when I was a teenager.

Salvador Dali is one of my favourite artists is. In addition to his genius and soul-stirring paintings, I am impressed by the life of the artist and his wife Gala. Their story is like a piece of art where you can see a vivid example of the power of that very feminine energy. After all, Salvador Dali dedicated all of his best works to Gala.

– Do you believe that art can change the world?

– Pablo Picasso used to say that if all people were artists, there would be no wars. That phrase, in my opinion, can be applied to any creative activity. If a person is engaged in the creation, he or she would hardly want to destroy.

Art is a creative process, which changes not only the world but also the person him- or herself for the better.

Not only creating but also contemplating art affects us in a similar ‘therapeutic’ way. Even if one does not create anything but somehow comes into contact with art (goes to galleries, fills the space around oneself with artworks, listens to music, and goes to the theatre), one’s thinking changes.

Art teaches us to notice the beautiful, to explore the world not only through sight, smell, taste, and touch but also through feelings. That makes it possible to bring our emotional state into balance. As you know, there are no wars where there is no conflict and aggression.

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– Your ideas are very wise and interesting. What would you like to wish women of the world?

– That is a very interesting and valuable question. I would wish people different things at each stage of my personal growth. Now it seems to me important to wish women to let their energy be in harmony with male energy.

Today, people talk a lot about women’s influence. However, a woman’s energy is very often perceived by people as something separate and independent. I would like to remind you that female energy is only female in comparison with male energy. It has its own force and uniqueness only in this way. I believe that, in this respect, talking about independence and competition cannot be productive.

The world is arranged in such a way that the harmonious union of opposites gives birth to a powerful force. By separating or by competing with one another, we become weaker. That brings no benefit to anyone. A happy world is a harmonious world and we can create it only together.

Viktoria Gusakova, Global Women Media news agency

Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov


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