(Speech given during creative process class NIC early 2018)
Sometimes we have experiences that change our lives forever.
No matter how hard we try we cannot go back to looking at life from a perspective we once knew.
I was introduced to the spiritual path very abruptly and this project reflects upon that experience speaking to the obsessive worshipping patterns that appeared and the confusion I felt along the way.
I decided to take this direction in response to the statue of Christ as the good shepherd because I feel like Religion is sometimes explained or expected to be understood in simple ways that don’t always match the degree of intensity that an individual my feel.
I come from an upbringing with little religious background and found myself all of a sudden face to face with religion in a very real light, one I had not known to previously exist. My curiosity was not strictly Christian but focused mostly in ancient yogic scriptures such as the Yoga Sutras and the Bahagavad Gita while all around it was a search for an understanding of God, Universal Love, the Divine Life Force, Brahman or whichever way one relates to religion.
I tried to understand my experience while living in today’s society, being a Mother, wife, student and friend all while running a household, and trying to just stay generally sane.
There were times when I didn’t understand why my experience was happening as I felt my hours of meditation were more suited to a cave some where set in the Himalayas. Luckily my family love is strong and secure and I was able to find myself somewhere in this religious bottleneck of the 21st century.
In the first piece worshipping obsession I take the simple, generic and surface nature of worship from my original study, Christ as the good Shepherd and add to this amazing hologramed art work the repetition of the Lord’s Prayer etched in the background, small tokens of repetitive worship such as jewels, flowers and money. There are worn down areas at the spots of self blessing to add impact to the way worship doesn’t always stop at a surface level but rather it can become repetitive and need many different outlets for one to feel one is paying due respect on a daily basis.
Within my exploration of religion and God my lifestyle changed in many ways. I found there was a tipping point where rituals were no longer done for love but for need. And the worshipping slowly grew from freedom to obsession. I never knew or felt like what I was doing was enough anymore and the balance in my life was no longer in check. I started to question life in other ways and contemplate different meanings of existence and while these hypothesis existed, I was searching for something I didn’t really want to know the answer to.
My confusion came through self reflection and pondering whether there was actually a force that could hear me. I found that I was asking for proof that God was real but I wasn’t sure what would happen if I got that proof. The words in the back etched into the mirror in the prayer piece further this confusion and say things such as a God? Are you there? Am I not doing enough? These words speak to my lack of religious background and understanding of what to expect in return when you do speak to God. In reality if I actually heard something would this not make me appear insane?
The words also represent the unknown, the prayer that maybe is or isn’t being heard. The holes into the mirror world work as capsules into the unknown realms of self reflection, these places we haven’t discovered within ourselves before and they offer the viewer a chance to read something that is not supposed to be deciphered but merely spark curiosity.
I enjoyed the way these words spoke to the Lord’s Prayer text in the shepherd piece as they are of the more personal account of trying to reach God rather than the more generic and communal prayer to God. In some ways these two works rebut one another as one says look at me, worship me it’s easy where as the other takes us into the depths of the worshipper where the lines are blurred and seemingly straight forward religion becomes an outward show of faith while on the inside feelings of confusion and disworth may grow.
My lessons were hard to learn and the darkness and light offered contrast to my life in too many juxtapositions to decipher. I still don’t understand where I am or even where I want to be on the spectrum of religion but I am grateful for my experience and for my artistic outlet to portray this from my inner being.
At the end of it all I want to say that this world is wildly challenging and beautifully Real. Sometimes life seems so hard but the hardest times often hold the most beautiful lessons of all. Thank-you all for listening, I am really grateful for this opportunity to explore this part of me more. It is something I haven’t felt ready to talk about until now. So thank-you so helping me to move forward and just as The Cheshire Cat said. ”I’m not crazy, my reality is just different to yours.”