Updated: Mar 3, 2020
I feel a sense of being when I inhale deeply, when I stop to breathe, admire and contemplate. As humans, we are constantly reminded about our impermanence. The most forceful reminder is death. The impact is of higher magnitude when the person is close to you.
On 12th September 2018 Vashti Riley passed on. I had the distinct honour of conversing with her in the days prior to her passing. Her children were grown and holding their own, she had travelled the world and lived in service to humanity in both professional and private life. She passed peacefully; yet it was painful to us remaining. As with all transitions we are called to think deeply about life – ours and others, and humanity in general. For some, we are of the elements of nature – earth, water, fire, air, ether. Cher’s work RED GOLD calls to mind this nebulous uncertainty.
Robert Bruce Evelyn’s EFFERVESCENCE brings to mind the philosophy and spiritual system that holds to the belief that all life came from the water, and although everything is terminal, it is the experiences between birth and death that really matter. This is also echoed in the work of Tracy Greenidge.
Kenneth Blackman remarks that everything from the hardest to the softest of substances is made to decay. His organic sculptures WAVE and STRUGGLE are a testimony to the power of water to transform even the hardest of woods, while his PONDERANCE and Corrie Scott’s AS TIME GOES BY exemplify the beauty to be found in decay.
It is often said that life is short but in my contemplation maybe it’s just the right amount of time to make it perfect. Lorna Wilson’s MOTHER AND CHILD and SHE ADORES HIM remind us that we are born to live before we die. There is such joy and pain in child birth as in death, and in both experiences, there is hope and continuity.
Each stage of life must be honoured, revered and celebrated. This is most telling in Raymond Maughan’s CONTENTMENT and in Barbara Pickering TAKES TWO TO TANGO where the dancers have not lost that joie de vivre.
The message of Sian’s TRUTH BEHIND THE GLASS is that we will experience both pleasant and not-so-pleasant on our journey and we never really know the stories of others; but in all, as we grow, we learn to master and control our own experiences. Juliana Inniss’ ANCESTRAL POT reminds us that we carry so much more than we know and this information is passed on through the generations. Eventually we all become ancestors. Hebron Chism’s KINGDOM OF TUPAC tells us in a very impactful way, to be very mindful of what we do with our time here. How do we make the world a better place before we too pass? What will be our story when 2000 years from now the archaeologist digs through our remains? Jason Hope’s ROOTS OF ALL shows the constant interaction between the seen and the unseen. We are constantly crossing boundaries between the material world and the spirit world.
Permanence not only deals with the human condition or the condition of matter, it also has to do with how we experience the world. If we look to the trees they are constantly renewing themselves. Alison Chapman-Andrews, and Kadiejra O’Neal capture the beauty of the environment, and Kadiejra’s FEATHERS reminds us that we are in a constant motion, flux and travel. Rosemary Pilgrim’s MORNING WHISPER touches on the fact that human kind, like the bird, is a migratory species. The Chinese will add travel to human needs; so powerful a force it is. Kraig Yearwood’s THE WALL deals with this transience on a metaphysical level as man is in constant movement through space, place and time.
Ras Akyem-I’s RED STUDIO #1 looks at shelter, space and habitation. Seasons change, architecture changes. Change is inevitable. However, in that change the human needs remain the same, food, clothing and shelter, the look and form it takes changes over time. Walter Bailey’s TRIBUTE TO KAMAU examines how life supports life, to be respectful, mindful and economical with the resources of nature.
We are creatures of permanent change and motion, much like the atoms that make up every living thing. Once we are alive we will have experiences. Those that experience to the fullest seem to / are determined to have the best lives. The time spent is not important, what is important is what is done with the time.
This is best remembered when a peaceful soul passes on.
Oneka Small | Curator
November 2018 Featured Artists • Alison Chapman-Andrews • Adrian Richards • Amamda Trought Springer • Barbara Pickering • Cher-Antoinette Corbin • Corrie Scott • Cy Hutchinson • Hebron Chism • Heidi Berger • Jaryd Niles Morris • Jason Hope • Juliana Inniss • Kadiejra O'Neal • Kenneth "Black" Blackman • Kraig Yearwood • Lorna Wilson • Margaret Herbert • Ras Akyem-i • Raymond Maughan • Robert Bruce Evelyn • Rosemary Pilgrim • Sian Pampellonne • Tracy DeOlivere Greenidge • Walter Bailey • William Cummins