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 colors, 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, symbolized by the ever-changing Clown. With graphic jewelry, detail by detail, I have tried to convey a sense of verve – feel it!’
The reverse of the second coin, ‘Flying’, depicts the Clown-Acrobat in a spectacular costume standing on a ball with his elaborate sleeves spread wide as wings, and his whole body in balance, concentrating on the sensation of flight, so that the toy balls balancing on his hands do not move even the slightest. The ornaments of his outfit hypnotize the viewer – only a closer look reveals that the Clown’s body shapes into a circus, with the tent canopy flapping on his shoulders. The designer describes the character further: ‘I imagine that I am about to take off – I am waiting patiently with my arms outstretched. The world will lay below my feet… I will become a bird and carry the message of it – the sensual Pastel Circus!’
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 ‘Flying’ 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.