Art & Education

World Wheel

WORLD WHEEL (Earth Mandala), is an artistic forum for global understanding consisting of monumental stone sculptures and ceremony performance events circling the globe.

The project focuses on spiritual ecological issues activating an awareness of the interrelatedness of all life. Through active participation with local artists, performers and community, World Wheel addresses the people’s deepest personal and social concerns, working creatively with them to resolve cultural conflicts. World Wheel provides a transformative experience for the community.

The first World Wheel took seven years straddling the 40th latitudinal parallel beginning in Malibu, California and continued on to the Seneca Reservation, New York–Alicante on the Mediterranean Sea of Spain–the Umbrian Forest of Italy–the island of Tinos in Greece–the desert of Egypt–the banks of the Dead Sea in Israel and Palestine–a tiny village in West Bengal, India–a cave in Shoto Terdrom, Tibet–a national park in Kunming, Western China–on the banks of Lake Baikal, Siberia. In October of 1993 the culmination of this journey was in Japan at the ancient Shinto shrine of Tenkawa.

The second World Wheel circles the equator forming a nine pointed star with its center as the center of the earth. The first sites are in the Andes and Amazon rainforest in Ecuador. The following sites are Brazil, Nigeria, Kenya, India, Australia, South Pacific ocean, Kiribati; culminating in California. Vijali has dedicated this Wheel of sites to the well being of the children of the world.

Vijali explains, “The motivation for the World Wheel came from an experience in the mid 70’s when my perception of ourselves and the world shifted, and the Unity of life stood revealed. The next few years were a search for a way to live within this web of life that connects all life. Specific ideas for the World Wheel came to me in a dream; I saw myself carving sculptures out of the living rock and involving people from many cultures in a process of ritual in a giant circle around the world. The circle itself represents Unity in the sense that each spoke of the wheel has a quality that is unique, distinct from every other spoke of the wheel and yet it is from these differences that harmony arises, from these differences that the whole is created.

As soon as I arrive in a country, I ask each person I meet, three questions:
1. What is our essence?
2. What is our sickness, our imbalance … personally, communally and globally?
3. What can heal this sickness, what can bring us into balance?

Their response from these questions form the art and ritual performance. Each earth sculpture serves as the performance space and is left as a gift and permanent installation to be used by the community, continuing to connect them to the concept of Unity of the World Wheel.

The world became my studio. I was a pilgrim who made offerings and gave voice and form to the spirit of the earth and the people I met along the way. I kept expanding the borders of what sculpture was, what art was, integrating it more and more into life itself–the people around me; their problems their hopes, their dreams of the future. I saw that at the root of these problems is the misunderstanding of ourselves as separate, isolated beings needing to exploit the earth and each other for our gain. This dualistic way of thinking is the direct cause of our ecological and social problems which is rapidly leading us toward global disaster.”

View Vijali’s personal history

Contact Vijali by email
vijali@worldwheel.org

 

Emerging Voices Project

World Festival of Sacred Music – Los Angeles

Project Summary
The Emerging Voices Project brings together 200 Los Angeles based young musicians and dancers (ages 12-20) from six diverse communities for face-to face direct interaction with each other. Program activities include a full day retreat, a shared public performance, and participation in the World Festival of Sacred Music – Los Angeles
(WFSM-LA).

Abstract
Built on the professional and grassroots success of the 1999, 2002, 2005 and 2008 Festivals, the World Festival of Sacred Music-Los Angeles is now in the planning stages. A new strategy for the Festival is the Emerging Voices Project. Festival organizers (UCLA Center for Intercultural Performance, Foundation for World Arts and EarthWays Foundation) will partner with The Watts Towers Arts Center and the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center in Los Angeles. Our diverse ethnic, racial and socioeconomic communities will be criteria for select each participating group. Some 200 young musicians and dancers will take part over a 12-month period. Activities include: 1) A one day Youth Arts Camp on the UCLA campus; 2) A shared public performance at the Aratani Japan/America Theater, Los Angeles and finally 3) Each group will participate in one of the World Festival of Sacred Music- Los Angeles concerts. These concerts will be shared programs with other artists from Los Angeles and take place in venues across the greater Los Angeles area. Our producing skills will insure that public presentations are outstanding, however, the larger educational goal of Emerging Voices is to provide opportunities for cross-cultural exchange, inter ethnic dialogue, as well as an exchange of the performing arts. By creating circumstances for personal, cultural, and artistic exchange we believe meaningful relationships can be built and these children will develop a more inclusive vision of the artistic life of our city.

Background
The World Festival of Sacred Music (WFSM-LA) is a 16-day, 40 event multidisciplinary and intercultural experience that highlights the cultural diversity of Los Angeles. Produced by organizing partners (UCLA Center for Intercultural Performance, Foundation for World Arts and EarthWays Foundation). WFSM-LA exists as a partnership of hundreds of arts and faith based organizations, environmental groups, artists and venues that consolidate their efforts once every three years in order to host this community oriented Festival. The WFSM presents 35 multidisciplinary events and present 800 artists in 30 diverse venues across Los Angeles. The 1999, 2002, 2005 and 2008 Festivals, makes WFSM-LA is the largest citywide Festival currently active in Los Angeles. A culturally inclusive and altruistic curatorial approach combined with a modest organizational and administrative structure make a Festival of this scale possible. The project is neither a commercial venture, nor does it promote or endorse any political or religious agenda. Rather, it provides the means to affirm the importance of communication through the arts.

Goals

  • Promote tolerance and respect for others with differing views, beliefs, and artistic sensibilities.
  • Develop an appreciation for culture through an understanding of the diversity of our society and our rich expressive cultures.
  • Provide face to face in depth experiences between youth in a cooperative and equitable learning community.
  • Establish partnerships between individuals and organizations and serve as a model that will encourage similar culturally sensitive youth programs.
  • Build and inspire the capacity of young artists, educators, and community leaders by highlighting the success of outstanding groups that work in our city.
  • Promote intergenerational learning and leadership skills that can advocate for the voices of youth as well as encourage the long-term knowledge of master teachers.

earthways@earthways.org