When I spoke with artist John Felicè Ceprano, he told me that he has a natural inclination to seek balance, as he had learned to do through Tai Chi. So, to complement the sound of water and to create a more direct link between himself and nature, he began to first look, then touch, then feel the balance of rocks he found in the vicinity.
Last month, I wrote about my frustration with how slowly Canada is moving toward reconciliation with First Nations, Metis and Inuit Peoples. I despaired about the bad news coming out of reservations, the streets, the jails, our women and girls, the youth suicides... and wondered if we were ever going to move from pretty words to action.
A Mainstreet Research poll found that 54% of adult Canadians cannot name a single Canadian visual artist, living or dead. In contrast, the poll also found that 97% of adult Canadians can name at least three Canadian hockey players. Are we really so divorced from art a majority of us can't name Emily Carr, Tom Thomson, Jean-Paul Riopelle or Norval Morrisseau?
To be honest, I don't remember the specifics of what I learned about Mozart, Baryshnikov and Rembrandt. What I remember, though, is how it gave me the coping mechanisms to get through the worst parts of my childhood: poverty, severe bullying, an absent father, an abusive boyfriend with an addiction problem. Now that I'm a mother myself, I continue to pull from the lessons I learned through the arts, which gave me the strength to escape, to strive and to create a better life for myself and my daughter.
My dad is artistic. He creates really beautiful fishing flies. Just mention his work of fly tying and watch his eyes light up. Sit a moment as he winds his threads and here him talking to himself passionately about what he is doing. When he says otherwise, it makes me wonder: Who told my dad that he's not artistic? What made him think that?
Tattoos have long been considered to be much more than body decoration. The spiritual, social, personal and political significance of getting inked is an indelible aspect of body art, and most people who have undergone the uncomfortable, to outright painful procedure attest to it's intrinsic spiritual experience. But what about tattoos as a form of healing? What if there was a medicinal and curative element to this global ritual?
I met with widely-acclaimed hypno-healer Debbie Papadakis. Why? My investigation to learn about the conscious mind and abolish creative blocks brought me to her. In the consultation, Debbie explained that the mind is broken into three different states: the conscious, the subconscious, and the unconscious.
Humanity is seen to be independent from nature, even above it. This has been the Western vision of the world. In poisoning the earth, we were led on a self-destructive path. But I try to invoke here an alternative vision, expressed by Islamic (Sufi) arts, which finds that the way humanity relates and depends on nature can be renewed once the creative life is reclaimed.
I am a firm believer in sharing, working together, and trusting that one can do what they've been asked to do. Over my two years as Program Director of Open Space at The Banff Centre, I have seen a major shift in practice, production and product. What does this mean for the future of opera in Canada?