Milan Rai’s White Butterflies at The Santosa Yoga Studio
International artist’s installation has landed in Leith. Known as the Butterfly Man, Nepalese artist Milan Rai’s beautiful symbols of peace has been seen in dozens of places around the world from New York’s Central Park to Machu Pichu.
Now his simple but powerful shapes have arrived in Edinburgh at the Santosa Yoga Studio in Leith’s Albert Street. Already in the UK, an installation of more than 3,000 butterflies has captivated audiences at the Southbank Centre, London.
Santosa Sanctuary therapist Jenny White met Milan there and then again during a flying visit to Scotland and he gave her the white butterflies to install at Santosa as part of his interactive art project.
“Jenny was able to finish the installation over the Summer Solstice which just happened to be our first anniversary of opening the venue - such a fantastic birthday present,” explained Janis Binnie, Santosa founder.
While White Butterflies is a stunning spectacle, it’s also become a focal point for connections that make the world a better place. “Milan encourages people to engage with the butterflies,” added Janis. “He often finds people end up sharing butterflies with their innermost secrets and expressing their deepest emotions. We are inviting customers to choose their butterfly, decorate it or add their own message to it. Over time, the butterflies will be transformed into a collage of collective messages and colours.
“Milan has promised to visit Santosa on his next visit to Scotland, it is inspiring to see Milan's work, as an artist from Nepal - a country with little infrastructure or development for the arts - spreading and being celebrated across the world in this way.
“His message of transformation, peace and unity are what visitors find when they are in Nepal, it is part of their culture and in their hearts. I've spoken to so many people over the years who describe their first visit to Nepal as life-changing or transformational - as I did.”
The butterflies are scattered through the venue and create a simple yet stunning effect – made more resonant when customers and visitors participate.
In a recent interview in the Huffington Post, Milan said: “White Butterfly was born out of love. I embarked on this journey by translating my experience of personal transformation into a motif coupled with profound beauty, optimism and the desire to move beyond the confines of the gallery walls.
“Butterflies engage people’s imagination in an immediate way, inspiring many others to discover their own personal cabinet of wonders. We are reminded of the simple things in life that we often forget.”
White Butterflies are at The Santosa Yoga Studio, 21 Albert Street, Leith | studio.santosa.co.uk