Sunday, January 27, 2013

Divine Creation: A Painting Retreat with Rassouli

When God created human kind, he transfered upon them the gift and power of Divine Creation: the ability to materialize their thoughts. It was enough for them to think about their children, and those children would have appeared in front of them, in soul and flesh. 
Through this sublime power, mankind should have multiplied and lived as Gods on Earth.
However, human emotions were weak, and gave into the temptation of the snake: our animal instincts. Reason followed emotions, and thus human kind became enslaved by material lust.

As there is no greater offense to God than trading His gift of Divine Creation for poor wordily pleasures, human kind lost its divine consciousness and their perceptions fell under a black veil: the illusion of duality. Instead of perceiving with our souls the oneness of God, we are now perceiving with our limited material senses only illusory dualities.

But there is a way back! We can still find our lost power and experience Divine Creation through art.
Last week I was blessed with the opportunity to attend to a three-days painting retreat under the wise guidance of artist and professor Freydoon Rassouli, who showed me the path I have been searching for.
Honouring the generous invitation of Her Highness Susan Al-Said, Rassouli organised the paining retreat at the Society of Fine Arts, in Muscat. For three days, many artists listened to Rassouli's teachings, observed him at work, and exercised themselves the newly acquired knowledge.

Professor Rassouli taught us to paint not what our eyes see, but what our souls perceive. Analogically, one should not paint with his mind, but with his soul, as art is not about reason, but about feelings.

He talked to us about the illusion of duality, and showed us the truth and oneness of God behind all illusions. Beyond all the different forms and color there is one Divinity, uniform and infinite.

"Is that greatness which is within you, that helps you to express yourself. And that is not for the artists only, but for every human being, as we are equally powerful. If Christ could walk on water, we can walk on water too. But to be able to walk on water, we have to be Christ and to recognize that we are Christ. That recognition of the power within is what connects one with the divine power, with god, with Allah. That is the connection that we need."

This Divinity is what Master Rassouli paints and taught us to paint. This is his Fussion Art.

"The whole concept of Fusion Art is about connecting the outer world with the inner world, connecting dream with reality, connecting the opposites, connecting darkness with light; and this should not be judged."

As the oneness of God is behind all things, professor Rassouli told us, there is no ugliness or untruthfulness around us. Everything is beautiful and true. So is the representation of everything. Therefore, art cannot be ugly or untrue, as it is ultimately the representation of God.

There is also no "wrong way" to paint. There are no "right" or "wrong" techniques. 

The substance of art is just to express your soul, and how you express it is just an unimportant secondary aspect. Should an artist depict God as his soul perceives Him anywhere and everywhere, such depiction is beyond technique and can never be done in a "wrong way".

I cannot find worthily words to express the enthusiasm with which all artists attending the retreat were absorbing the above teachings, and many others that professor Rassouli shared with us, or the excitement with which everybody was immediately rushing to their canvases to exercise the same. During the three days of the retreat, the atmosphere was heavy with creativity, wisdom, eagerness, enthusiasm, gratefulness and love. It was a truly transforming experience, offering all an enlightened perspective on creation and art. Everybody that attended the retreat, thus becoming friends, departed with the intention of soon honouring professor Rassouli's wish of founding in Muscat a society around his Fusion Art philosophy.

As many painters, Rassouli is also fascinated with photography, an art which, contrary to Fusion Art painting, depicts the beauty within the illusion of duality. He bought a professional camera more than eight years ago, which he still carries and uses all the time.

During our retreat, Rassouli kindly asked me to take a few photographs of the artists at work. Excited about having the chance to help, after a few photos I have taken, I dropped the camera on the floor and completely destroyed its lens. Against Rassouli's polite insistance, I rushed to a  photo shop and replaced the broken lens with a new one. The next day, I was listening astonished to Rassouli, who was telling me that now, with the new lens, he is finally able to take the artistic photographs which he always unsuccessfully hunted with his old lens. 

With countless words of unconditional love and peerless grace, Master Rassouli showed me his gratitude for my humble gift, and in turn generously offered me one of his invaluable paintings, which I am eagerly waiting to receive from him soon. 
Observing that nothing happens "by accident", we both remain thankful to the mysterious and Divine ways through which bonds are created between souls, at all moments.

After this enlightening experience, I suddenly remembered the first discussion I had with my beloved husband about art, when he told me:

"Art is about the creator, not about the consumer. When I write, I do not do so to please my audience, but to express myself. Therefore, art cannot be ugly or wrong, but only a true and beautiful representation of the artist's soul.
Never mind norms, they are just brutal ways through which consumers are attempting to influence the creator. Any external, intentional influence on one's art crushes its authenticity.
Do not care about techniques. Each artist is an individual creator, with an individual soul. Always express your soul as it feels right to you, do not attempt to express it as others expressed their own souls. If I would write about incest using Vladimir Nabokov's techniques, would I be a creative artist?
So art is about creation from within one's soul, about freedom from imposed norms and about independence from established techniques."

Now, Master Rassouli translated for me the same philosophy in a painter's language, giving me the opportunity to create my own art within the same vision.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Go Green: Pre-School Recycling Art Exhibition

Would we like other people throwing garbage at us?
Definitely not! 
Neither does Mother Nature!

Do we care about what Mother Nature likes or not?
Definitely yes! She is our shelter, we need Her to survive!

So what do we do with our garbage? 
Recicle! It must be our duty!

Yes, but duties are not always fun... 
So let's make recycling fun: let's turn our garbage into art!

These are the reasoning and teachings we are passing to our children at American Lycetuff pre-schools. It is our philosophy to consistently integrate social and environment responsibility in the educational process, for ensuring the sustainable preservation of nature. We consider that we do not have the right to be ignorant by refusing our children, and the generations to come, their pleasure to enjoy nature just as much as we did at their age.

Beyond all the above, we also want to teach our children to observe beauty in anything and anywhere.

Beauty or ugliness are not in the objects of our sight, but in our sight itself. Therefore, there is no such thing as an ugly object, but it is actually our perspective that needs to be changed.

By showing the children how to create beautiful art from garbage, we teach them to always lay beautiful sight on everything around them, with no discrimination whatsoever.

And let's not forget that creating art is always fun! Playing with color and form brings joy to children, who are barely noticing the educational and creational components of such activities.

I am looking forward to welcoming you, together with my fellow educators and our young students, at our Recycling Art Exhibition on January 24, at the Muscat Grand Mall in Al-Khuwair.

More important, our young artists are eager to showing everybody how they  happily played, responsively recycled, passionately created art and respectfully paid tribute to beauty, all at the same time.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Art 100x100

Established artists, dilettanti, apprentices, novices and lovers of beauty, whose lives have been touched by the shadows of cancer, donated 100 works of art to be sold for 100 rials each. The funds thus raised are offered to those who are fighting the merciless disease.

The exhibition was organized under the patronage of well-known artist Ibrahim Gailani, who spent the last several months working intensively on this project. 

During his touching speech at the opening gala, Gailani shared with everybody the story of Art 100x100, which was born out of his own suffering, to comfort the sufferings of others. 
The enthusiastic efforts that lead to the accomplishment of the project were marked, according to its patron, by sharing emotional episodes of life, establishing soul-connections, friendships, and by gently healing painful wounds. Gailani said he never cried before as much as he did when working on Art 100x100. 

Be it artists who lost relatives and friends to cancer, or ones who sympathize with the suffering of the unfortunate, everybody came together as a family who takes care of its own and works selflessly towards the moral comfort of its members.

Under the auspices of the Oman Cancer Association, the event was generously hosted by Bait Al-Zubair Museum in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, between January 8 and January 10. 
The opening gala gathered more than 200 people, both exhibitors and admirers, reunited for one evening in unconditional love for those who are still suffering and for the ones who are resting thereafter. 

More than a quarter of the exhibited works of art were sold during the first half an hour after the gates were opened, rising to more than half sold until the end of the opening night.

I was fortunate to have been invited by one of my fellow artists and instructor Yousuf Alnahwi, to participate to Art 100x100 with my painting Journey to Enlightenment. I was even more fortunate for my painting to have been acquired among the many sold immediately after the opening of the gates, thus fulfilling its purpose and my hopes.

The beauty of all paintings in Art 100x100 was but a translucent veil around the pain, suffering, hope, courage, and, more powerful than anything and ever: our faith.

I am thankful to Gailani, for making Art 100x100 possible, to Yousuf for kindly inviting me to participate, and to Andrei Gabriel, my husband, for his continuous support. Above everything, I am thankful to God, for blessing me with the talent and opportunity to help his suffering children.

Journey to Enlightenment

Life itself is a journey through duality and it is within the infinite Divinity where all aspects of life coexist. It depends on us, what we choose and what kind of luggage we decide to carry with us. Is it the fear that one embraces when life brings him a painful experience in the foreground, or is it hope, confidence and trust? 
Here are two worlds that can be chosen: down-world made of fear, despair, disbelief and suffering, and the top-world where pure, deep thoughts prevail, culminating with the power of enlightenment that gives life a whole new meaning, true meaning.

It is not wandering in dispair that will bring us to salvation, but our determined journey on the path to enlightenment. Should one search thoroughly within the Divine Nature of his soul, he will find the salvation he seeks.

Dedicated to all souls who are fighting cancer, and to those who are resting thereafter.



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