Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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Srila Prabhupada Mosaic Art: A Whole Devotional Process
By Atma Tattva Das, ISKCON News Staff Writer   |  May 06, 2023

Bala Krsna Das, formerly known as Bongani Mazibuko, has been creating art since childhood. Unfortunately, his impoverished situation prevented him from studying art at university. He explains, “I could not afford to attend university, but I think I could have chosen art as part of my education if I had had that opportunity.” However, his passion for art never faded, and he continued to create.

When Bongani joined the Hare Krishna movement, formally taking shelter of His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami, Bala Krsna was inspired to use his art in devotional service after learning that any talent or skill can be used in Krishna consciousness. He explains, “When I came to Krishna Consciousness initially, I was inspired by the knowledge I received. So I wanted to experience that devotional life.” Bala Krsna later lived in the ISKCON Sandton temple as a monk practicing spiritual life, which inspired his artistic creations greatly.

He describes his artistic process as an experience guided by Krishna, as he lets his intuition and inspiration lead the way. Bala Krsna uses found objects, such as old ceramics, to create his artwork. He believes everything is connected, so he lets Krishna guide him in his creative process. “When I see something, and it feels right, I take it, and I use it,” he said, “There is a lot of cleaning and cutting in preparation involved beforehand.” Bala Krsna’s art reflects his spiritual practice by portraying images of devotees, as well as Krishna and His pastimes.

As a Hare Krishna artist, Bala Krsna has faced challenges creating within a larger secular art world. However, he hopes to develop an interest in collecting devotional art from the larger ISKCON community through greater visibility and artist support to sustain himself and others through this discipline and carry on doing devotional service in this way. He believes that his art has the power to impact those who view it within the Hare Krishna community and beyond. “My art is my devotional service. I hope it can inspire others to explore devotional art and deepen their spiritual practice,” he reflected.

Bala Krsna’s art has evolved, and he has moved from painting to creating portraiture mosaic artworks and other devotional pieces. His materials and designs are chosen based on his process of seeking out recyclable objects, factory rejects as well as randomly found items. He explains, “My designs are inspired by my spiritual practice, I listen to Srila Prabhupada as I work, and I try to reflect that in my artwork.” Bala Krsna hopes his artwork will inspire others to connect with Krishna in new ways and deepen their spiritual practice. “Srila Prabhupada said paintings of the Lord’s pastimes are like windows to the spiritual world…I hope that includes mosaics,” Bala Krsna said with a smile.

Bala Krsna Das’s story is one of passion, perseverance, devotion, and inspiration. His love of art has sustained him through challenging times, and his connection to Krishna has inspired his artistic creations. He hopes to connect with other Krishna Conscious artists and grow to inspire many as he explores devotional service artistically.

You can contact Bala Mosaics via WhatsApp to find out about his work, collaborate, or order a commissioned piece at +27 67 303 8162.