I have been on a spiritual journey through artistic expression for over forty-eight years now. Growing up in Ridgefield, Connecticut, always sketching or painting my impressions of the physical world around me. My view of this material world expanded my connections after the tragic death of my father in a plane crash and my brother’s murder. In living through this loss and violence, my mission in this life is to plant the seed of peace and unity through art revealing the physical and spiritual worlds are one. To me Governments that separate us are only an illusion, we are one family. In seeking out this spiritual journey, and unity, I have connected with artists internationally who are also seeking to make the world evolve through art. I just returned from Lebanon, where I have met artists using their work to make a positive change in the world around them. I implore each of you to connect with them, their projects, and others through social media (see links below).
Yesterday I met with Katrina Koerting, a local reporter, and told her about my experiences in Lebanon (link below). Via Skype I also introduced her to my son Cody & to Razi (above left) who is one of the Syrian Artist's I've come to know. We spoke about the need to find peace and brotherhood through art. Razi told her about his art and the situation he is going through, living day to day. He is an artist and writer who has escaped from Syria, who now lives in a small studio in Beirut, where he is currently painting his heart out. The pain of missing his family and friends, all that he has been a witness to, is reflected upon along with the power of survival in his beautiful paintings of flowers that have both bloomed and gone by. He said that there is a hope of rebirth and new life someday..but the blooms he has painted on his canvas have died now.
There are so many connections between us, the world is too small a place not to look for them. I look forward to bring this experience to my canvas, to sending work to Beirut Art World for donation to their NGO work. How profound it is the artist’s mind and the journey of mourning the precious loss of life and freedom. A painted record in the memory of our cultures. And as our precious little world hangs in the balance between the forces of Light and darkness. I would implore every Artist, Writer, Musician to reach out to the world around you, and inspire the minds, hearts and souls of Humanity to live in peace and harmony together.
Links to the online article: http://www.newstimes.com/printpromotion/article/New-Milford-artist-visits-Lebanon-to-spread-love-8312048.php?cmpid=fb-tablet the article made the front page that I've scanned in and is displayed below, but please also share the DNT link to support the writer & the paper- print news papers need our support too.
Links I would like you to read & share- All important artists working in Lebanon everyday through their artwork & projects to help the community & the refugees who live day to day there. Also UN reports & projects.
From Razi Wardh's "In Bloom" Exhibition Bio, "abstract pieces summon a subtle sense of melancholy. Beautiful yet sad, In Bloom hints that despite our plans, hopes and dreams death exists; the flower is after all temporary, a passing thing that soon will disappear. However, hope blooms next to death, as the viewer understands the nature of the flower it will return with the same beauty and tenderness. That delicate and gentle creation brings a sense of hope, just add water and wait; delicate colors, soft petals, it offers beauty and hope of rebirth and renewal. Here are 3 of Razi's works:
His works come together, forming an artistic garden on canvas. One, two, three flowers, or an entire floral collection, In Bloom expands, grows and inspires. Life, hope, flowers, they all scream silently, raging against our reality of sadness and gloom." https://www.facebook.com/events/1710430962542677/
I have learned from this report about the vulnerability of Child refugees. I have been inspired to speak out on this issue in every way I can. The plight of refugee children living in the margins should be something we all try to speak out about as these children need voices working on their behalf. This reports from unicef gives you some information on the general condition and profile of street based children: http://www.unicef.org/lebanon/Adjusted_NEW_BOOK_indd_final_27_1_15.pdf
Roula Chreim's Facebook Page. She runs an NGO working with the UN to do international art shows where the proceeds go towards outreach projects in the community, everything from providing heaters to those in need, to providing art workshops to women in the community: https://www.facebook.com/roulachreim?fref=ts
Diala Brisly, a Syrian refugee artist who uses her whimsical illustrations to uplift and enrich the lives of many Syrian children in a weekly magazine that she prints out. Her inspiring pictures of her childhood, that is now lost for many of these children who are living in the darkness and chaos of war. I saw that she painted a mural on one of the school houses in a refugee camp. The painting was of an open book, with dreams coming from the pages to an astronaut in Space. Her works are a window to a world of possibilities and adventure for so many children who live behind the fence, kept from a physical freedom. The world of imagination can be opened in a painting on a wall. https://www.facebook.com/dialabrisly/?fref=ts
We've all heard someone criticizing Art as "excessive" and "unnecessary" and categorizing it as "entertainment", but that view is broken and fully misses the value of Art. We all need to open our eyes to what Art really is. It plucks the strings of human emotion. It taps into our quantum soul that ties us together. It can give us a perspective on something beyond our own surroundings and expose the true human nature and our shared experience as "spiritual beings on a universal journey"(quote from a friend). These are truly the goals of all Artwork whether it is a Pixar film, a song composed hundreds of years ago played today by Yo-Yo-Ma, in the movement of a dancer in "American in Paris", or in the brush strokes of a lilypad in a Monet painting. All these works evoke your emotion as a human being, in fact it is this expression of empathy that makes us human! This is the true value of Art. Some people will call Art unnecessary, or a waste of resources in contrast to the massive issues we face around the world.... And these people are missing the point of Art at its core! Through Art projects around the world, Artists are expressing with grace, all the tragedies and the triumphs of Humanity. The communication of the world around us takes place in Artists' studios in the far outer reaches of Earth and in your hometown. Art is bringing that need for change to your computer screen or your local gallery and you only need to take a moment to share in this experience to know its value to our global community. These Artworks are now more important then ever for those of us who want to find truth, sanity and hope for our species.
Let me share with you how I hope to inspire change in this world where it is desperately needed. Just over the border from war torn Syria, are areas where many refugees have fled in the Middle East. I will focus the first phase of my next project here. My hope is to work for two months in this area of the Middle East painting and exploring the Holy Lands via Beirut, Lebanon, which is at the heart of the old and new worlds.
There is so much energy and potential for planting the seeds of hope and brotherhood and yes, peace. I'd love to paint at this moment where the winds of change are sweeping refugees in need of support into a culture that is both diverse, vibrant, and budding. This refugee city is a microcosm of humanity and there is much to learn, document, and paint. I'm ready to take it all in as an Artist and work in this space. I'm excited for the possibilities to raise awareness of the refugee crisis. My goal is to donate my work for sale through Beirut Art International, NGO/UN to benefit the refugee camps where there is well over Two Million people, trying to survive with their families. Upon my return to Connecticut I hope to collaborate with local events to raise awareness of the plight of refugees & promise of hope for the Lebanese through my paintings and photographs. This is the Video Lacey put together for the project:
There are also several others of me and my work here under my "Video Channel" on this website. Art can be spiritually powerful, I would like to make a positive change in the world through what I know and through these tools I have, I just hope I can make a difference.
You can also make a difference by familiarizing yourself with the UN refugee stories from around the world linked here, and by sharing these with your friends and family both in person and online. That could be you or I with our family trying to hang on to hope for a future, and peace is fragile. We must all raise awareness to their plight & the strain it is putting on the world. Please add your comment and suggestions for my project below.
You can also learn more about my project, share it, and lend your support by clicking on the image below...