Art and Soul

Art and Soul

This last weekend started in Australia and took me to Quebec, Saudi Arabia, Poland, Bhutan, New York, Versailles, Copenhagen and Prague and what a trip around the world it was. The Travelling Film Festival screened 10 full length features and two shorts and I saw them all. I’m not someone who would choose to watch a sub-titled film on the television but when the opportunity presents itself at a cinema I will give it a go. Of the four film festivals I have been to and completed in their entirety, there is really only one year that I didn’t enjoy so much due to the dark and slightly depressing program.

Here’s what you learn when you travel around the world in a single weekend – human beings are more alike than different. Trauma, pain and grief is the same, social issues are the same, joy is the same and art, in all of its divine and diverse expressions brings people together. When I wasn’t consuming copious amounts of “nutritious” (I’m sure if you look hard there’d be all the five food groups in there somewhere) movie snacks through the cinematic moving pictures variety, I was scrolling through, at last count, the 400+ artists that adorn my Instagram feed, (a terrible habit that has become quite an obsession) comparing my art to the quality of those that move me and there is a lot!

I know on a skill level, I am a beginner and there is a lot for me to learn but I have been asking myself if I will ever get to the level where people are as moved by my attempts as I am by others. That’s not why I practice of course, but it is a concept that I tend to give a lot of thought to. As if reading my mind, one of my Facebook followers commented that my portraits have “soul”. Now, to be fair, I attribute that comment to one: the portrait subject and two: the artist photographer that captured the image I was moved to recreate in the first place. My intention of what I am calling “Black and White Icon Study – Practicing Shadows” is to see if I have it in me to try and capture a glimpse of that already established soul and put it on a board. I am having a whole lot of fun doing it because they come together really quickly and it’s such a thrill when you achieve some likeness . . .somewhat instant gratification if you like. . . I have some rippers on my “to do” list so watch this space.

More and more, particularly post-open heart surgery which kind of forces one to do a metaphorical stock take on life, I am finding what art gives back to me is what is really important to me – perspective, colour, opportunity, joy in abundance, an indiscriminate outlet for expression and but most thrillingly, just as the film festival did, the boundless prospect of travelling whenever and wherever your damaged heart and art desires! I would encourage anyone to take in a Travelling Film Festival flick or two if it comes to your town. This year I loved them all but my personal favourite was “Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom” set in Bhutan delivering art, heart and soul in spades.

I’d love to know what kind of art moves you.

Natasha Lavai xo

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