Art and society:

Family and society

Strategic plan of the Ministry for Family and Social Affairs of the Community of Madrid

The Ministry for Family and Social Affairs of the Community of Madrid asked for a cover image for their strategic plan 2005 – 2008, which outlines the core activities and services concerning family issues.

Why a Mandala?

The image should, in a symbolic way, show the significance of the family in society and social development. At the same time it should represent the transformation of the institution “family” in modern society – divorced parents, patchwork families, single fathers and mothers, homosexual and lesbian parenting partners, grandparents raising their grandchildren, mothers who work and fathers who take care the household, etc. It was crucial that the image did not fall into the trap of a simplifying nostalgia nor of unreachable complexities. Finally, the expectation was that the image went beyond the mere illustration of already defined positions and interpretations – it was supposed to encourage a broad view onto the manifold dimensions of family.

I opted fort he basic structure of a Mandala as a timeless and intercultural symbol for the dynamic interrelations between the parts and the total. For, no matter its particular cultural and social contexts, every family is, as such, of a mandala-like nature: it is more than the sum of its parts, and it is embedded in a permanent process of reconfiguration and reorientation kindled by the personal development of each of its members.

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