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Oil on MDF

1.22m Diameter

As Within, As Without.

Mandala (Sanskrit: मण्डल, IAST maṇḍala)

lit. 'circle'

In Hindu and Buddhist Tantrism, the mandala is a symbolic diagram used in the performance of sacred rites and as an instrument of meditation. It is a representation of the universe, a consecrated area that serves as a receptacle for the Divine and as a collection point of universal forces. Man (the microcosm), by mentally “entering” the mandala and “proceeding” toward its centre, is guided through the cosmic processes of disintegration and reintegration.

Dala (Sanskrit: दल, IAST dala)

lit.'petal, portion, piece, fragment'

This body of work meditates on the textual/symbolic, material and spiritual aspects of the mandala vis-a-vis an introspective deconstruction of the term. It does so by delving into the dala that comprises the man-dala, denoting the detached petals of a lotus flower. Taken together, Man-dala traces lines of continuity from the Leela Series in its emphasis on abstract organic/geologic patterns and textures – including the textural or sculptural qualities of paint, weaving between the abstract and figurative.

Man-dala approaches the archetypes surrounding us in an isolated way, zooming in and focusing on specific archetypal elements, namely Fire, Water, Earth, Air and Space, via specific colours, patterns and motifs within each painting, much like a microscopic snapshot of isolated phenomenon in seperate hermetically sealed environments. The seemingly abstract forms and textures were inspired by microscopic images of diseased tissue, such as cystic fibrosis. The organic and textural forms within the circular frame alludes to a microscopic view into the world of our bodies and its corporeality, entering into a space that is alien and abstract, yet intensely familiar and symbolic.

Conceived as a pentaptych to be seen from multiple vantage points, Man-dala serves an point of entry into the huMAN condition of meeting and (c)leaving, as well as the cosmic processes of disintegration and reintegration more broadly. While a close up of these individual paintings alludes to vibrant matter on a micro(scopic) level, an (over)view of these paintings collectively from a distance hints at a chain of planetary/geological bodies on a macro level. 


This superimposition of the micro and macroscopic views of ‘reality’ within the paintings is an invitation to ruminate on the Human Condition and its significance when viewed through the extreme perspectives of scale. When our Immanent existence and all our narratives are being abstracted in light of the Transcendent, what are we left with? How do we orientate, calibrate, relate, reflect, consociate? How do we make sense?

This series of work is also part of a broader strand of Jireh's explorations into vibrant materiality and ephemerality, in which he creates 'living paintings/art', resisting the underlying desire in painting (and art objects) to eternalise a moment/idea in time, defying archival conventions of permanence.

Due to the nature of the medium and methods of application, collectors are reminded that these paintings live and breathe long after completion, transforming slowly through the the course of time.

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