What do you associate the circus with? For many, it’s a place full of excitement, colour and laughter, where even the deepest desires and dreams can come true… It’s also a home for those who have unique, almost magical abilities: here, a clown rides a bicycle on a thin rope, a graceful acrobat performs his pirouettes on a trapeze, and a gleeful juggler demonstrates how many clubs he can throw while swinging on a ball. All these skills are embodied by the protagonist of ‘Pastel Circus’ – the red-nosed Clown, whose symbolic transformation into a bird is evident on all the coins in the series.
The artist of the series, Ms Laimutė Varkalaitė, reveals the idea behind the ‘Pastel Circus’: ‘This circus is light and fluttery, with soft colours, accelerating and flying, but inside it is rock solid, because the desire to soar is an irresistible force. I want to tell the story of how the inner state becomes visible, and how our aspirations turn into reality from our conception to the flight of the soul, symbolised by the ever-changing Clown. With graphic jewellery, detail by detail, I have tried to convey a sense of verve – feel it!’
On the reverse of the third coin, ‘Balancing’, the Juggler Clown, wearing a costume decorated in hypnotic ornaments, performs several jaw-dropping tricks. He balances juggling clubs on his head held high and arms outstretched wide, spinning gymnastic hoops around his waist and legs at the same time. Such concentration of the Clown requires an extraordinary effort of will – just one inaccurate movement and the performance is over… Only a keen-eyed spectator, freed from the hypnosis of the tricks, might notice that the body of the Clown is also undergoing a metamorphosis: his torso is a circus tent stretched over a frame, his arms are exotic birds straightening their necks, and his feet are an elaborate lever of a hoop that spins round, round & round… The illustrator describes the inner state of this character: ‘It’s time to take off, but I stop and listen again to what my body is telling. It is focused: the calm firmness of its balance dispels the last doubts of those who have only seen me as a clown… I am ready to rise with my whole self!’
The author of the design, Ms Laimutė Varkalaitė, already known to numismatists from the ‘World of Cryptids’, has conveyed not only the playful symbolism of the circus in a unique manner, but also the journey of a man who persistently pursues his dreams – even if they are not physically possible. On the reverse side, the viewer’s eye is guided by graceful lines that intertwine to create intricate, mathematically precise ornaments, which are filled with dreamy pastel shades.
The silver collectible coin ‘Balancing’ has an antique finish quality and a digitally-printed reverse. The obverse is framed by a circus stage curtain showing a rising balloon and a public seal of Niue in the centre. Below, two katoua cleaving clubs – the symbol of Niue – are crossed, and the island’s motto, ‘atua Niue tukulagi’, is written above them.