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Artist and former Buddhist monk Losang Samten made an impression on more than 2,000 museum visitors when he created a sand mandala at Colby in the fall of 2005. He’s coming back, and this year his mandala — an elaborate circular “painting” made by pouring colored sand — will be larger and more detailed. He will also lead a meditation and speak on a panel with members of the Colby faculty. All events are free and open to the public.
Samten will spend 10 days creating the sacred sand mandala, “The Wheel of Life,” in the Colby College Museum of Art, beginning Monday, February 5. He will continue his work from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day through the dismantling ceremony at 1 p.m. on Friday, February 16, and the entire process is open for viewing by the public.
In addition, the following events will accompany his visit to Colby:
Tuesday, February 13, 6:30 p.m.
The Paul J. Schupf Wing, Colby College Museum of Art
Saturday, February 10, 1 p.m.
Given Auditorium, Bixler Art and Music Building
Featuring Losang Samten, artist; Sarah Haynes, Colby faculty fellow in religious studies; William Edelglass, Colby visiting assistant professor of philosophy; Trian Nguyen, Bates assistant professor of art and visual culture.
Originally from central Tibet, Samten studied with the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts and later joined the Namgyal Monastery, where he earned a master’s degree in 1985. He founded Buddhist centers in Philadelphia, Hartford, El Paso, and Reno. In 1995 Samten gave back his monastic vows and entered a lay practitioner’s life.
Samten has created sand mandalas, which are considered to be purifying and healing, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, among other places. He served as the religious technical advisor and sand mandala supervisor for the film Kundun. In 2002 Samten received a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Colby College Museum of Art is open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free, and the museum is accessible to people with disabilities.