On Art, Heart and Preciousness of Life
'Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.'
Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
We all inherit cultural and familial expectations to some degree. We also experience a level of pressure from the peer group and from our internal self saboteur. How often do we question if the imposed expectations are in line with what we truly want? How regularly do we reflect on what is driving us in our life decisions?
As adults we become so entrenched in being guided by our practical brains, and have so many things we should, must and need to do, but when was the last time you checked with your heart if the life you live is in line with your deep heart desires?
It requires tremendous courage to get to know oneself intimately and not be afraid to learn to hear and understand our natural internal guide, the heart. I hope the story of the artist that I am about to tell will inspire you, as it inspired me, to take a close look at where you are, and check if your heart’s voice is being heard.
Whilst in Moscow, I saw an exhibition of the Russian Avant-Garde painters. There were a number of world famous artists presented, however the work that resonated with me the most, was 'Giant's Morning’ by the Russian female painter, Elena Guro.
I have not heard of her before, and as I started reading about this painter, I found her story inspirational. Elena (originally Eleanor from her French descent) Guro was born in 1877 in Saint Petersburg and died from leukaemia in 1913 at the age of 36. She was a Russian Futurist painter, poet, playwright and fiction writer.
Russian poet and literary critic, Vladislav Khodasevich wrote about Guro: 'Light and joyful, she loved the wind, freedom and the sea the most. Now and then able to enjoy quiet caresses of the daily routine, she was infinitely far from the dull, spiritually weak Russian Futurism, the brainchild of boredom, disbelief and mass aestheticism'. Here, Khodasevich refers to Guro’s individuality. Although, labelled as Futurist, her art was distinctively different from the other painters, representing the same movement. She was free-spirited and sensual in her way of being and her art, be it painting, poetry or fiction. Inspired by the flow of the wind and vastness of the sea, she was in tune with her own natural rhythms, which led her creative expression. Not so worried about the ego imposed goals to impress or compete with her peers, she heard her own inner voice and had courage to follow.
According to literary critics, every work of Elena Guro was a self-portrait. In 'Giant's Morning' (1910), the artist creates an image of a fragile, transparent and emotionally complex world, which is an expression of her spiritual state. The 'portrait' of a porcelain cup and two random figurines, depicted in pastel tones, are exquisitely described in the words of Russian poet and philosopher, Vyacheslav Ivanov: 'Here is my new Self, fully permeable to light'. Guro's poetry, fiction and art were closely interconnected as one was an expression of the other, and essentially an illustration of her inner world, be it 'breathing like the universe' or 'dancing like the wind'. She didn't create a school or a system, but followed her own way of expressing her inner being and this way touched the lives of people around her. She heard her own rhythm, which was the rhythm of her heart, and she was not afraid to be led by it.
With this I would like to remind you of something that you already know - life is exceptionally beautiful and indispensably precious. Every day matters, and what your heart has to say also matters. So, do listen to it closely and don't be afraid if it says something unique, unusual, and different to everybody else.