Last night I achieved a moment of closure, an attainment of balance, of harmony: essentially my essence was feng shui-ed! I speak of those rare moments when, for an instant, an imbalance, emotionally or psychologically speaking, is rectified. This is generally accompanied by a literal feeling of relief, calm and peace. Much like on a hot, humid day when as the heat builds so do the storm clouds until eventually the heavens, sullen, glowering and dark, are split asunder by bolts of lightning and the rain begins to pound down. The aftermath of the storm, however, is characterized by a freshness and tranquility and so one feels after closure.
So how do we do it? What are the essential ways to find closure from the past?
Doctor Abigail Brenner says in order to attain closure we should:
1.) Take full responsibility for yourself.
2.) Grieve the loss.
3.) Gather your strengths.
4.) Make a plan for the immediate future.
5.) Create a ritual.
The ending of a significant piece of one’s life — a relationship, a job, a stage of life, or a way of thinking — may be difficult and even painful for many of us. Something that you once counted on as very important to your life is over and done. Closure means finality; a letting go of what once was. Finding closure implies a complete acceptance of what has happened and an honoring of the transition away from what’s finished to something new.
So, my moment of closure: I attended a lecture given by Daryl Houghton on a trip of his to the Miro Foundation in Mallorca. Now if you have read some of my early posts you will recognize the name. He was an art lecturer at Edgewood College where I studied to be an English and technical drawing teacher. I elected to do an art minor as part of the requirements of my diploma. Now this took a lot of courage on my part, particularly because of my bad experience with Mr York, my high school art teacher. He was very dismissive of the work I produced and crushed my self-belief and certainly my joy of creating art. I came to believe that I had no talent and should remain an appreciator of art rather than a participator. But within me a voice clamoured and howled, a thirst remained unquenched, a passion restrained and caged. Unfortunately Mr Houghton was not the man to help me. It was not that he was cruel like that high school teacher was but rather that he was, it seemed to me, not willing or able to help me. The fact is that his theory lectures opened up new worlds to me and stirred those passions within me into huge, raging blazes. Blazes that were uncontrollable because I had neither the confidence nor the technical knowledge to convey the images within me. However, I again took it that this was because I had not artistic ability and that I was embarrassing myself.
I have to admit that I attended the lecture with some trepidation, for this was one of 2 teachers whose influence scarred me so badly that I only took up art very late in my life. But talking to him again, before and after the lecture, and whilst listening to his lecture, I remembered what a kind-hearted person he was, and what a really good theory lecturer he also was, and still is. An academic. this is where his skills lay and expecting him to provide me with the tools to find my artistic voice in some art minor course at a teachers’ training college was a little unrealistic as well as unfair. So Closure: the relief was a physical thing as I listened to him speak about his trip. My soul was feng shui-ed, adjusted and aligned for how ever briefly.
CONVERSATIONS WITH MIRO:
A visit to the Miro Foundation on the island of Mallorca.
An illustrated talk by Daryl Houghton
This talk focuses on the way in which the Mallorcan environment provided much of the inspiration for many of the images in the later works of the great Spanish Surrealist, Joan Miro. After spending much of early his life in Paris, Miro finally settled on the island of Mallorca, a paradise which he had known since childhood. We will visit the Miro Foundation in Palma Mallorca where the artist’s studios remain much as they were left at the time of his death in 1983. Specific works by Miro will be paired with images of Mallorca to illustrate that, although much of Miro’s work is made up of abstract symbols, its roots always lie in some form of reality experienced by the artist. Miro’s works are colourful and often filled with humour but at times that humour can be sardonic. With Picasso and Dali, Miro is regarded as one of the most important Spanish painters of modern times.
While on the subject of lecturing, I have had an amazing offer, which I of course accepted. I am now the Durban-area Mentor lecturer for the University of South Africa (UNISA), and am loving passing on my love for and of art to the students. I also gave my first artist walkabout lecture on the final day of my exhibition at the artSPACE Gallery. It was an extremely daunting prospect but I thoroughly enjoyed it! I led 30 people around who were interested enough to pitch up and listen to me speak about my art. How cool is that? And I learnt something about myself: one of the audience asked me why I thought I was drawn to feminist performance art in particular? I gave her my normal answers, respect for women, coming from a performing background (dancing), blah blah blah, and then…epiphany: I was raised by a single mother and all my role models from a very early age were female, therefore it was quite natural for me to look for the same whilst pursuing art! I think the entire audience realised I had had a moment then and they responded very positively.
Walkabout by the artist on Saturday, 24 May at 11a.m.
at artSPACE durban
It is free and all are welcome!!
“Visualizing the Creative Process –
mappings of the academic journey of an art student” by swany
In the exhibition, swany, who has recently completed a visual arts degree, presents a record of this four-year journey as student artist. Through the presentation of his academic record, the artist provides a visual mapping of a journey undertaken as well a study of the creative process itself. Swany is a Durban-based artist who, while always retaining the characteristics of performance art in his pieces, works across disciplines. He has exhibited at the KZNSA Gallery, artSPACE durban and the COLLECTIVE. He most recently exhibited his performance and installation piece, Proof of Life (2013), at artSPACE durban, and took part in a group exhibition, More Than Words (2013), at the COLLECTIVE.
So closure seems to be in the ascendance in my life at the moment: the closure provided by my retrospective exhibition of the four years of work from my studies, and of that provided by my interaction with an old ghost from my past, Mr Houghton, Dr now I think? I wonder when I will attain closure over my horrendous relationship with the American woman and my disastrous immigration to the United States. The truth is I may never achieve this closure despite having instinctively followed the process of those 5 steps recommended by Dr Brenner. Acceptance of that fact is a kind of closure in its self though and does offer a measure of peace.
What’s next though? Well, I have 3 group exhibitions in the final 6 months of this year, one of which I am curating. I am also very excited about having been invited to take part in one which will be held in the Durban Art Gallery. Trust me, it’s a really big deal!
“Looking Forward: Our Lives in 2034”
Twenty years ago seems like yesterday and 2034 is just tomorrow.
We have selected you from the stable of KwaZulu-Natal artists to participate in an important exhibition in Durban in this, the 20th year of democracy. The exhibition is a cooperative undertaking between the Durban Art Gallery and artSPACE durban.
The exhibition itself will be in Gallery 4 in the Durban Art Gallery from August 4 to September 14, 2014.
Anyway, dear readers, this was just a quick update of the haps. I will try to write more, promise.