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Cathy van Hoppe
I suppose I could give you a list of dates and events that have marked out this life so far but what the heck, let’s try this instead...
The small child sat on her bed by the window hiding from the scorching summer heat. She was considering what kind of tail she might like and how it might help her travel to the other side of the world.
“ A long muscular monkey tail might be helpful to swing from the tree branches but then what would I do when I reach the sea?”
“A kangaroo tale is very good for hopping large distances but I don’t think it could help me safely jump the great ocean.”
Her sheep skin rug did not fly, she had tried it, and neither did her bed. There must be some way of getting back to the land where her grandparents lived because she surely did not belong here - it was horrible! Dry and dusty, the people seemed as harsh as the too bright sunlight.
She slumped over a book and stared into the picture. Her eyes wandered over the tiny painted landscape filled with gnarled ancient trees and gentle woodland creatures. Then they wandered off the page, into the unpainted landscape beyond.
“The painting is a doorway and I can go through it.”
She gathered all of her books and wandered through all of the doorways, putting her favourite doorways in a special pile at the end of her bed.
Yep that was me. It's all true, and I'm afraid not much has changed.
From a very young age I was a master at the art of picture travelling. Any picture anytime, anywhere. I travelled deep into the woods of Arthur Rackham. I got lost in the far away lands of Errol le Cain and Dulac. Then there were Northern territories of Neilson and Bauer. I stepped into the huge dark oil paintings of Dutch Masters and didn’t bother with the likes of Matisse.
That is what art is for me; a doorway, a method of transportation by entrancement.
And, since then I have been creating these doorways in one form or another.
Art, music, story and prayer are ancient portals for human beings. Entrances that enable us to connect with something much larger than our perceived selves and yet where we may find a sense of reunion, connection, a coming home. It is no wonder that art, myth, music and spirituality have shared space for so long. More recently I have come across the writings of Henry Corbin and his works on the 'Mundus Imaginalis' or the 'World of Images'. His writing draws on wisdom from ancient Sufi texts and I'm sure as I become more familiar with it this wisdom will make its way to the blog.