Last month, I had an unintentional retrospective exhibition at Benedict College that included works from over a 20-year period— unintentional in that I thought the exhibition was scheduled for 2011, not 2010, so I had to scurry around to gather up enough work for a cohesive show, adding in older work I hadn’t planned on showing to fill the space. While I initially dreaded the thought of showing this “old” work, I was delighted to find during both of my gallery talks that my audience, comprised of college students, was fascinated by many of my older works focusing on Lilith.
Lilith, Adam’s first wife, had a strong individual voice and definite opinions. In the end, she was too much for Adam, and he ultimately banished her from the Garden. The students and I had lively, insightful conversations about Lilith and how her powerful, strong, independent voice got her into trouble. Lilith now symbolizes what many feel our world needs more of today.
The Power of Voice
Inspired by these discussions, I decided to revisit some of the archetypes of the Sacred Feminine. In that vein, I finished a painting this weekend for Vista Lights, titling it Lilith’s Reclaiming. The idea of reclaiming and moving our voices – as individuals and as members of a community – forward remains highly relevant. When do we speak out, and when do we yield? What causes us to fold inward, to lose trust in our uniqueness and inner knowing?
This work (left) by artist Leslie Dill, I Heard a Voice #1, prompts the viewer to root around for new ways of thinking about voice and hearing. What are your associations with these words? What kinds of outer and inner voices are there? Can we hear even when no words are spoken? What other senses can be used to hear? Can voices in our dreams have relevance in our lives? How are voices related to our souls?
Your Inner Phosphorescence
This Saturday, we will explore the idea of moving our voices forward in the workshop Finding Your Inner Phosphorescence through Word and Image based on Dill’s exhibition I Heard a Voice currently at the Columbia Museum of Art.
The genius of writers and poets – their ideas, their poetry – fuels Dill’s creative fire, leading her closer into her own essence as well as inspiring her visual imagery. One of her favorite poets is Emily Dickinson, who wrote:
PHOSPHORESCENCE. Now there’s a word to lift your hat to,
to find that phosphorescence, that light within, that’s the genius behind poetry.
That is the genius behind all art – the art of continual becoming.
Who are the poets, the dancers, the musicians, the artists who nudge you forward in life? Mary Oliver is one of mine. Share yours in a comment below.