My Nicosia Mandala

‘My Nicosia Mandala’ book Launch
11 bastions – 11 Mandalas – 1 city

‘My Nicosia Mandala; not just a colouring book!’

The colouring book ‘My Nicosia Mandala’ depicts a series of 11 ‘mandalas’ set within the framework of the walls of the old city of Nicosia, in black and white, for the entertainment of both children and adults.

Considered as a practical example of an ‘ideal city’, the remaining venetian fortifications of Nicosia still pay tribute to a concept that was visually based on grids and other geometrical patterns that encouraged moral, spiritual and lawful qualities of citizenship.

A mandala, meaning ‘circle’ in Sanskrit, has a concentric structure which offers balancing visual elements that symbolise unity and harmony; each mandala having its own, unique meaning. Encompassing the circular shape of the mandala within the outline of the ancient walls of Nicosia and its 11 bastions was a visually natural reaction.

Seeking to create ‘Nicosian’ mandalas, Melissa Hekkers almost effortlessly began photographing elements on both sides of the divided city in order to create 11 mandalas, each representing one of the bastions of our capital. The metal work on windows and doors, the stone work of buildings and churches, the floor patterns within traditional houses, the metal street lights and the balconies within the walls of Nicosia are the inspiration behind the mandalas one will find within the pages of this book.

The process of colouring, both for adults and children, has recently been deemed as a healing one; an act where one remains focused and in the process is soothed and nourished, an idea the author felt was suiting for a multiethnic city which, just like mandalas, requires unity and harmony in order to peacefully work as one entity.

“Creating these mandalas, looking deeper into the details of Nicosia and embracing the city as a whole has been a journey I thoroughly enjoyed,” says author Melissa Hekkers.

‘My Nicosia Mandala colouring book is available from all major bookshops in Cyprus and

Concept/ written by: Melissa Hekkers
Design and artwork by: Melissa Hekkers and Zara der Arakelian
Foreword by: Anna Marangou
Greek translation by: Katherine Pollard
Turkish translation by: Esra Aygin
Published by: A Bookworm Publication, Nicosia, Cyprus
Printed by: Pembridges Ltd (Absolute Paper), Nicosia

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About Melissa Hekkers

I am freelance journalist and author, who has frequently been featured in mainstream news outlets and other publications in Cyprus. Recently, I've been focusing on developing my writing, promoting my own books and teaching creative writing to children and adults. My most recent publication (2020) - Amir's Blue Elephant- pushes the boundaries of creative non-fiction, and recreates the moments that marked me the most, whilst volunteering in refugee camps in Lesvos, Greece, and during her ongoing involvement with the refugee community in Cyprus. In 2018 I published My Capre Greco Mandala which is the third in a series, an interactive colouring book about the biodiversity of the Cape Greco peninsula in Cyprus. My Akamas Mandala, the second in the series, is a colouring book inspired by the variety of endemic plants found on the Akamas Peninsula. In 2016, I published My Nicosia Mandala, the first of the above series, an innovative, interactive colouring book about the historic fortifications of the old town of Nicosia. I also focuses on silenced communities in Cyprus: I writes about migrants and refugees, both as a reporter and a features writer; I profile them and teach them creative writing skills. In 2007, soon after graduating with a Communications degree, I published my first children’s book in both English and Greek entitled Crocodile, which won the Cyprus State Illustration Award. In 2012, I launched my second children’s book Flying across Red Skies (in English and Greek), using an experimental approach to literature, for which I was nominated for the Cyprus State Literary award. My third, similarly well-received children’s book was Pupa (Greek and English), published in 2014. In between the last two books, I published my first free-verse poetry book entitled Come-forth. In 2019 she was contributing author to the anthology Nicosia Beyond Barriers: Voices from a Divided City, published by Saqi Books, London