When I go through the world, I notice that everything has its own pulse – the people, the plants, the trees, the animals, the birds – and if we get quiet enough we can hear each other’s drumbeat. If we keep listening we’ll move to the same rhythm.
Do you notice that?
In my art when I try to find this drumbeat, this pulse, this spirit – I try to find something that connects me to others, my culture to other cultures, my mind to my body. I mostly use an object that I can hold in my hand which I will then photograph and use in a collage repeat on canvas. As an example: I used a smoking pipe in my series “Pipes”.
The Sioux tribe believes that a smoking pipe, Calumet, represents Creation.
The Stem is a symbol for masculinity and the animal world. The Chamber stands for the femininity and the plant world. The smoke represents the prayers that go up to the gods. I then selected a calabash pipe to connect my world to the world of the Sioux tribe. The pipe pieces made for a beautiful collage and gave my series the heartbeat of creation and its beings. Sometimes, if a new painting in a different series would relate to the earth and its beings (a.k.a. have the same heartbeat), I would use the pipe as a foundation again like in this painting.
Other objects that I’ve used as collages to form a painting’s drumbeat include words, buttons, scissors, irons, labyrinths, knits, hands and even complete paintings of mine.
Have a look around you and spot the drumbeat that speaks to you.
Every night when I go to bed, I look at it and I can’t quite put my finger on it. It makes me think of..
is it the veil of a bride?
or is it a waterfall that covers up immense beauty still to be discovered?
or is it a hidden city where the buildings are rooted to the ground like plants with bridges leading to…I don’t know where.
Some days it makes me think of one of my favourite things. Rain. When it rains so much and hard that I can’t see through the rain-curtain that rolls from the roof. I don’t know what will be left after the rain. It’s so loud that I can’t hear what the person next to me says. It’s just me and the rain and what I know to be true behind the veil.
I wait to see what will still be true after the rain.
I search in anticipation to see what I need to see and then I fall asleep.
In waking up I fall in love with the piece all over again.
In love with the delicateness in the give and take of the colours that look different and new again in the light that the morning brings.
In love with the lightness that I feel.
In love with the little imperfections that reminds me that there is room for change.
That reminds me that nothing is permanent. Everything is permanent until it’s not. Not to me any longer.
After the rain, my truth (that always has room to) changes. I am no longer who I was before the rain. It’s a new day.
The girl sat and stared out of the window. It was still early, night was still deciding whether or not to open the door to day. In the background the washing machine gently rolled the to-be-washed-alone shirt around and around. “What kind of a life is one that has to be lived in isolation?” the girl wondered.
Scribbling away in her notebook to leave evidence that there was in fact a life being lived between the edges of photographs, the girl started to ponder about borders / no borders. Which option is the freer option? Sometimes borders – emotional borders, country-set borders, bank account borders – are set as freedom protectors.
Pondering and pondering about questions like these for days, weeks, months – the girl decided to rely on the idea that made her feel happiest on the inside. “The idea that freedom lies within borders, tend to be driven by fear”, she thought and she decided that the idea of “My sky is your sky is her sky is his sky” felt much more bright-eyed, open-hearted, open-armed and definitely promoted hugging on a regular basis.
She felt relieved about her conclusion and pondered about it no longer.
Have you ever heard of the ten-year-old mayor that solved the riddle of the crying umbrella? Well, it’s a true story – a friend of a friend saw the umbrella with her own eyes.
The town of Onki-O used to have a normal “moustache”-aged mayor (if you know what I mean). The people loved their mayor and the mayor loved his people. One day, an umbrella flew into town with the cunning old northern wind that lived for creating chaos when there was too much peace around.
The umbrella was a pinky red, almost like the colour of a man’s face when he knows that he is in trouble. Something was strange about the gift from the northern wind. It didn’t take the people of Onki-O long to figure out what it was: It rained from within! It cried!
As the days went by and the trees changed colour, the town of Onki-O grew sadder and sadder with the sobs coming from the umbrella. This was a big concern for the mayor. When even the children of your town stop laughing, something MUST BE DONE!
The mayor has tried everything.
First he tried to hang the umbrella over the river to let the tears flow away with the river, but the fish became so sad that there was no more dancing on the water.
Next the mayor tried a street corner near the best bakery in town that promises “Our fragrant bread brings a smile to a head”! My, oh my! Within a month the merry bakery turned into a blues café!
The mayor then considered bottling the tears, but the idea got not one, but five “REJECTED!” stamps all over the paperwork by SWADRA (Sad Water Drinkers Anonymous).
The mayor has puzzled and pondered and pondered and puzzled. His advisors had no more advice, his councilors no more council and his gurus no more guru.
So he did what any caring mayor would do. He set out a “Wanted!” poster that read:
“Solve the puzzle of the umbrella that cries
and become the next mayor as your prize!”
This was a puzzle-O to the whole of Onki-O. Everyone tried to find a solution and every day the mayor listened to a hundred more failings. Just as the mayor thought that burning the umbrella seemed the only way, a little boy pulled on his jacket.
“Mr. Mayor, I think I might have a solution.”
The mayor that likes kids to know that they are taken serious, goes down on his one knee to listen to the boy.
The boy started to explain: “If water flows downwards they form tear-drops that brings sadness. When water flows upwards it brings happiness in the form of a fountain. I think that the umbrella doesn’t want to be an umbrella. I suspect that she wants to be a fountain. I believe that she cries herself into a puddle because it lets her see a reflection of herself like she would most want to be seen.”
The boy turned the umbrella upside-down and there was an immediate switch to happiness – the umbrella fountained, the fish danced again, the children laughed again and the whole town was happy.
The bakery stayed a blues café, because the sad-happiness of the music reminded the people of Onki-O that looking a certain way, don’t make you a certain way.
In my work so far I’ve come to the conclusion that the first step to change is finding our connection to each other and to nature again. A clue that you are connecting is that you feel moved. On the X-factor, someone once said when asked how to write a great song: the song has to move people – either on the inside or on the outside.
“Healing may not be so much about getting better as about letting go of everything that isn’t you – all of the expectations, all of the beliefs – and becoming who you are. Not a better you, but a realer you.”
– Dr Remen, The Human Patient.
~ the real You for all, and all for the real You ~