I started working on a series of images that are inspired by folk art styles from India. This one uses horses that have interesting mandala spots on them. After painting the colors of the mandalas, it was unexpected for me to see how much the horses reminded me of circuses.
Volunteering in public school art classrooms in schools that have large immigrant populations, it initially surprised me that mandalas are a popular assignment. Given the originally religious significance of mandalas, I worried about whether children should be drawing them for fun. Then I found out that publishers have already capitalized on interest in mandalas by publishing stress relief coloring books featuring secular versions of the mandala shape. A friend struggling with health issues said coloring them relaxes her.
Considering that mandalas draw on concepts of sacred geometry, harmony, and the golden mean, it makes sense that their appeal is broad based.
It is always a struggle to decide when cultural influence becomes cultural "appropriation". I have shied away from distinctive styles like Warli tribal art which has long standing religious and cultural meaning, and focused on designs like the paisley and mandala that are wildly reproduced and used commercially. (Though in fact even Warli art is frequent printed commercially on Indian textiles).
I still think the question of cultural appropriation is interesting. If anyone would like to read more, this is an interesting article: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2016/04/bane-cultural-appropriation-160414080237198.html
Another article shows the depth and longevity of cultural exchange regarding the most famous "Indian" design motif: the paisley. Paisleys also feature prominently in Russian textiles, and in Russia they are viewd as Russian.