Category Archives: Other art related things I am doing

Playing with my Heart

It is International Women’s Day and to celebrate this I have created my very first ever animated GIF and will share it with you today.

A GIF is a graphic format, which I would explain as a kind of moving picture. These formats seem to become ever more popular on the internet and I can understand why. Instead of having just one image, you have kind of a moving gesture, usually composed of a few still images.

And so, without further ado, here it is:

Playing with my Heart

Playing with my Heart, an animated GIF by Imke Rust

I hope you enjoy it!

Film Revue: An Infinite Scream

Source: Film Revue: An Infinite Scream

(Sorry to all English subscribers, today I reblog an Afrikaans review about our film which will be screened tomorrow, 14th January, at the Goethe Institut in Windhoek @ 19h15)

En nou vir die van julle wat Afrikaans praat, ‘n Film Revue in Afrikaans van die wonderlike Daniël Bezuidenhout a.k.a Thulana wat met haar woorde en taal kan toor.

Lees gerus ook ‘n bietjie van haar ander blog posts, so mooi geskryf met ‘n wonderlike sin vir humor en interessante stories oor haar lewe in Ghana.

Dankie Daniël!

“Elkeen van ons wat soos ‘n volstruis met sy kop in die sand staan, en vertrou die regering sal na al jou belange omsien, moet ‘n slag staan en wonder hoe goed dit uitgewerk het vir die Boesmans.

 

In ‘n aangrypende artistiese dokumentêr, “An Infinite Scream”, kry die Imke Rust jou kop uit die sand. …lees meer hier

Interview about my Environmental Art

Some time ago I was approached to have some of my artworks published in a book, entitled ‘Temperatures Rising – Climate Change in Africa – a Journey in Pictures’. The book will be produced for the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) to be presented to the delegates and guests of the COP21 conference next week.

The consultant responsible for the book, Ms Asieh L Nassehi Javan of Concept2art in Torino, Italy, asked me to submit several suitable artworks of mine and has interviewed me about my art. One artwork was selected for illustration of the book, while it will also be printed as a poster to be presented in the African Pavillion. I am so honoured and excited!

I thought you might enjoy reading the interview and get to know more about my ideas behind my art, so I am sharing it with you here:

ANJ: What is the role of an artist? As an educator? As someone who makes people aware of issues? A critique? An agent of change?

IR: All of these. I believe different artists have different and often several roles, which together shape our (human) identity and future.

Personally I see my role in offering an alternative perspective on the world and our perceived reality, and offer possible creative solutions to problems affecting us. Part visionary and part agent of change. A little bit like the shaman or rainmakers in old cultures, who through their ritual and creative expression raise awareness and envision and enact a new, better reality.

ANJ: How do you define your art? 

IR: I work in a wide range of media, dependent of the concept or vision for the artwork. My work cannot be defined by putting it into a box. Roughly I would say it is a mix between creative, visual expression, alchemy, magic and spirituality, often with a sprinkle of playfulness.

It is a flowing process between all these layers, always conscious about trying to make a positive impact and slightly changing our perceived reality.

ANJ: What inspires you to create works that address hurting the Environment/Climate change? 

IR: My works usually starts when I notice something, which stirs me emotionally. Often these are situations which I find frustrating or problematic, so I start to wonder what could be changed and how.

Namibia is a dry country with two large deserts. We are extremely dependent on rain for survival, but also on managing our natural resources well. I try to find different ways to feel less helpless when it either does not rain or when I see great damage being done to our environment. I love researching and experimenting with really alternative ideas, because I believe often the mainstream ideas are what brought us the problems in the first place.

As an artist, my purpose is to use my art to make the world a better place. Others have different purposes. Like my father, who is a farmer and an engineer, so he tries to find agricultural ways to positively impact the environment, for instance through Holistic Resource Management. I learned much from him, but was also frustrated, that still we are dependent on the rain and that rainfall cannot be controlled. So I ask myself is this true? Why does almost every ancient culture across the world a belief in a rainmaker or a rain dance? And how could I combine my art, my knowledge and research and my spiritual beliefs to at least consider the possibility of having an impact on the rainfall?

ANJ: Is there an experience, instance or event that led you to create works about the environment?

IR: As an art student I had no money for art materials and usually in Namibia traditional art materials were either not available or extremely expensive. So I started to look around to find alternative materials to use, which I could gather for free.

So early on I noticed the abundance and usefulness of the environment for my art. Through that, and the fact that I grew up on a farm, it was a natural next step to pay closer attention to the environment and realize our connection to it more deeply.

My artworks from the series ‘…and I sensed an infinite scream passing through the Namib’ started from seeing the increased damage of more and more uranium mines and connected industries on the environment. Other people were demonstrating to stop the mines and I asked myself how I could personally contribute, since demonstrating was not my thing. I looked for ways in which I could address the problem and create solutions in my own way.

ANJ: Can you elaborate on the art works you are submitting? What are the messages they aim to send and to whom are the messages directed?

IR:  Rainmaker:

Rainmaker (Masking Tape on Rock, temporary intervention)

Rainmaker (Masking Tape on Rock, temporary intervention)

All over the world the old cultures had shamans who were known to be able to create rain, either through dance, music or rock-paintings. From my research I construed that the creative act combined with a focused intention can create a different energy or vibe and thus change the perceived reality.

Since then I have experimented with different methods of using my art to hopefully ‘make rain’. This specific work creates a vision of the reality we intend to see, in a similar way that the old inhabitants of Namibia would have used to attract animals for a good hunt. I have made several different artworks or experiments researching different approaches.

The message is two-fold: it tries to remind people to focus on the rain and not the drought, and secondly open people up to the idea, that there may possibly be alternative ways to see the world and to impact the reality around us. I cannot say for sure this way does work, but by trying it out, I hope it encourages other people to also try out alternative ideas, even though they might appear silly or ridicules. Through actively taking charge, and playfully experimenting with different things, we might find new solutions. (Find out more about my rainmaker experiments by clicking here.)

 

Earth Woman:

Desertification and erosion in Namibia is becoming an increasing threat, which is to a large extend a result of us not taking proper care of the environment. I found these deep erosion cracks and I wanted to use the human, female body and the naked skin to highlight this problem and to make us aware that the soil of the earth is like our skin and equally vulnerable and in need of care and attention.

We are intimately connected to the soil and our destiny is so closely linked to that of our environment. These works allure to this and the birth, life and death cycle, which starts and ends with the earth. ( For more work from this series, click here. )

Works like the Tokoloshe Trap acts in my usual multi-layered way. It tries to use the spiritual intention and activated energy, the shapes and material to protect the land in a spiritual way, but it also lets people see a familiar environment in a different and unexpected way. I hope this will let them pause and become more aware, start wondering and asking questions. I also hope it works via a physical experience: any Namibian knows from personal experience how painful it is to step into one of those thorns. Seeing so many of them arranged as a kind of trap, usually lets us cringe, while we imagine stepping into it. (More about this artwork: click here)

An Infinite Scream

In this documented performance-like action I asked passers-by to re-enact the famous painting ‘The Scream’ from Edvard Munch, on the Swakopmund jetty. Munch claimed that he sensed the angst and scream of nature, which led to this painting. Be re-enacting this scream, the people give an expression to the fears about the destruction of our environment. The resulting images and video raise awareness in a fun way. (More about this intervention: click here. and to see a super fun short video about it: click here)

An Infinite Scream Public Intervention

An Infinite Scream Public Intervention

Dorob (NOT) 4Sale

This anonymous intervention used a tongue-in-cheek way to get people’s awareness about the sale-off of our natural resources. Fake estate agent for-sale signs were placed at prominent places along the main roads leading through the Namib desert, with messages that our desert and ocean are (NOT) for sale. The provided telephone number and Web address lead to further information and links to environmental initiatives. (More about this intervention: click here. )

 

Hand-painted Photographs of the Namib Desert

While I was in Berlin, I heard about the plans to build a large chemical plant in the Namib Desert. I imagined what the desert around that plant would look like, if the waste is not properly managed, like so often before or if something unforeseen happens. I painted these scenarios onto photographs of the desert. Later, when I returned to Namibia I used the ideas from the photos for temporary land-art installations.

Toxic Rocks & Poisonous Water

The neon paints might initially give the landscape a funky and modern look, which is quite pleasing, until we notice that this is not natural and healthy. I hope to make people understand that we have to take a second look and consider the different realities behind a situation. Yes, a chemical plant might bring job opportunities, but also illnesses and destruction to the environment. Only when we consider all aspects, can we make a good choice. What looks pretty at first, might turn out to be nasty in the long-run. (More about this artwork: click here and here.)

 

AJ: Could your art, even though its related to Africa, reflect the global narrative?

IR: Definitely! When I started off with my career, I thought I am working on personal issues which are directly connected to myself and my home-country. I very soon realized, that once you scratch under the surface, we are all human and have the same hopes and fears. Situations and patterns are so similar all over the world, but we are often too distracted to notice, because we focus on the thin superficial differences.

Not all countries are desert countries, but still we all are exposed to and dependent on our environment. A country with plenty of water also needs to manage their resources. They might not need a rainmaker, but through my artwork they could feel inspired to play with alternative ways of interacting with and caring for their environment, and minimize the danger of floods for example.

ANJ: Do you have any comments you would like to add? 

IR: Thank you so much for your interest in my work and this opportunity to make it visible to more people worldwide.

Imke Rust busy installing 'Poisonous Water'

Imke Rust busy installing ‘Poisonous Water’

Thank you Ms Nassehi Javan for letting me share our interview here! It has been such a pleasure getting to know you and working with you.

Creative Play

Were you also told not to play with your food as a kid?

Yesterday we had soup for lunch and we sprinkled lots of freshly picked parsley over it. It looked and tasted delicious – thanks to my husbands cooking skills. I did finish my soup and I did not play with it, but while we were still sitting and talking after the meal, I noticed the leftover stems from the parsley still lying next to my plate…

Five minutes later, I had these … and a big smile on my face.

Do you like my blogs? Great!

Would you mind to telling me what you like best about them? I am taking stock and considering how to continue. Would you like to read more about what I am busy with? See more art, maybe with less writing? Hear more about my thoughts, ideas and musings? Do you prefer shorter or longer posts, or does it depend more on the content? And would you like to hear more often from me, or less? Or any other construcitve criticism which you would like to share?

If you have a moment, I would love to hear from you why you are here, so that I can share with you more of the extra-special magic stuff that you like most about me and my blog.

Thank you in advance!!!

 

As artist-curator in the Ukraine

What an exhilarating time it has been!

And I realise that I have been neglecting this blog a bit, with the last post being almost a month back… my apologies to all of you.

I just came back from my second visit to Kharkiv/Kharkow in the eastern Ukraine. The first time I came here in June, on a research and introductory visit for a project initiated by partners Osteuropa gGmbH. Together with the wonderful Tatyana Tumasyan and her dedicated staff at the Municipal Gallery of Kharkiv we planned and curated an exhibition, to be opened in September. The exhibition’s opening and the German-Ukrainian cooperation marked the start of the German Weeks in the Ukraine.

The exhibition ‘Understanding – Понимание’ featured installations and performances in public spaces. Eight young, but well-known Kharkiv artists were selected by us to present new works for this exhibition. They are Gamlet Zinkovsky, Konstantin Zorkin, Uliana Alimova, Boba Group, Vladislav Krasnoshchok, Oksana Solop, Vitaly Kokhan and Daria Rakova. The Municipal Gallery did an incredible job at preparing the show and I was very happy and grateful to be able to be present at the opening on the 24th of September.

Here are some pictures of the exhibition (please click on the images to see the full view and read my descriptions):

And a short video of the Boba-Group performance:

Besides the exhibition, I was also invited to present a workshop for a group of 12 young curators, who were selected from all over the Ukraine.

Together with Monika Szewczyk, director of the gallery Arsenal in Bialystok, Poland (www.galeria-arsenal.pl) and Viktor Misiano (http://www.re-aligned.net/viktor-misiano/?lang=en). Each of us had 2 days to work with the young curators…

Honestly, when I was first asked to do this, I wanted to say NO. Although I have been working as a curator in the National Art Gallery of Namibia, have curated a few independent exhibitions and art projects and have experience in large international bi-lateral projects like the p.art.ners berlin-windhoek ‘Shared Experiences’ Artistic and Cultural Exchange project between Namibia and Germany, I did not feel that I was really qualified to be in this world-class company of other ‘real’ full-time curators. I wondered what I could possibly teach these young curators, which the other presenters would not be able to do better, as they work with the subject every day.

Then I thought, if I am invited for this, there must be something valuable and special which I can add to this workshop. The organisers believed in me and trusted that I am exactly the right person for this. They would not have approached me if it was otherwise. And I realised that yes, I always believed that I have so much to share that would be helpful and inspirational to others, and now I have the chance to do it. We all have a specific combination of superpowers that make us who we are and let us live our life’s purpose. And I have unique experiences, views and ideas that are worth sharing with others (and so have each of you, by the way).

So I chose to share my personal experiences related to the challenges as an artist in Namibia and in the world and the solutions and alternatives that I have found for myself. I shared what worked for me and why, and what did not. Suddenly I realised that even my frustrations and failures had value in guiding me in a perfect way on my journey and by sharing these (and how I have been able to overcome them, or move on from them) I can really help others.

From the feedback and the many ‘thank you’s’, which I got, I am deeply honoured and can say with gratitude that my aim to inspire and enrich these young curators was successful. Here are messages I received from two of the participants, which so much warmed my heart:

“Thank you to incredible Imke Rust for the fact that no matter what the circumstances, not taking into account any impossibility, seeking the most noble and most necessary to improve this planet. For her contagious faith in something that everyone is able to change the world for the better. For her projects, for her unique experience and most importantly, for her desire to share this experience.” Владислава Ильинская
Dear Imke, thank you so much for the workshop you did in Kharkiv! It was really inspiring and motivating. You have a very particular charm and energy, that there are no doubts that you can make it rain. 🙂
Thank you a lot and wish you all the best in your projects! Olena Kasperovych/ Kharkiv, Ukraine

(They were both translated from Ukrainian to English via the Google translator.)

Even though I had a positive feeling about the workshop, I cannot tell you how much it means  to me to get personal feedback and assurance like this! Because unfortunately, no matter how much I have achieved or how confident I appear to be, I often feel so insecure and am worrying if what I am doing is good enough… (Note to self: give more positive feedback to others when it is merited. Not only will it be appreciated, but very often it helps that person to overcome their insecurities and doubts a little bit more. And I guess we all have some of those.)

While the participants could hopefully take many lessons home, I can say for sure that I did too.

I learned that

  • it is important to share ones experiences in a way which inspires others.
  • we need to trust in our unique strengths and talents and use them like superpowers.
  • We need to stay true to ourselves.
  • It is a beautiful gift to be able to understand each other (even if that means you need a translator)
  • Little by little all our actions can and do add up, so make even the smallest one count.
  • there are so many young, engaged people out there who are ready to change the world.
  • Even if outer circumstances differ, usually the patterns of the problems we are facing seem to be very similar. After all we are all human and struggle with similar issues.
  • my name looks like this in Ukrainian letters:  Имке Руст

Besides the workshop and exhibition, I also have been interviewed for an hour by the Ukrainian National television, as well as giving two interviews for local magazines, about my art and I presented an open public lecture at the gallery… Working hard and loving it! The TV interview was really surreal and I am very curious to see the show and I will forever wonder how much got lost or changed in translation? But I do believe the essence will always seep through if we share and receive with an open heart.

I am grateful for having had this opportunity, for meeting so many new and special people and artists, for getting to know a new country and culture, for being able to inspire others and be a blessing in their lives, for realising that it is indeed possible for me to travel with hand-baggage only and how empowering it can be to face and overcome my own fears (like being alone in a foreign country of which I do not understand the language).

I realised that I enjoy sharing my ideas and knowledge in order to help, enrich and inspire others, so I hope that life will present me with many more similar opportunities.

My very special thanks goes to Nastia, who is the kindest, hardworking and committed young curator of the Municipal Gallery of Kharkiv, who also has been my very capable Ukrainian voice (translator) most of the time.

And here are some Kharkiv impressions:

I hope you enjoyed this summary and pictures of my trip to the Ukraine.

An Artist’s Life

Many exciting new things are happening in my life and I did not have much time to write for my blog. Today I thought of sharing a few pictures from my life with you, to give you an impression of what has been happening. That is, the fun stuff, which happened between all the admin work that took up most of my time.

First, as it is becoming warmer, I decided to prepare one of the outside rooms as a temporary summer studio, so that I can paint again on bigger canvasses, be messy and not mind paint splatter on the floor and allow space for offering workshops.

Those who have followed me for a while, know that I moved to a small village close to the forest, with a garden and an outbuilding and garage, which we want to turn into a wonderful, light and spacious studio. Unfortunately we discovered that we first need to get a new roof, as the old one is leaking beyond repair. So it may take a while, for our/my dream to come true. But the temporary studio will work fine for the warmer months for a while.

I have also been lucky to have received a second-hand drawing cabinet and large drawing table as a gift, which I am so grateful for.

Studio pics:

(Click on the images to see them in full.)

Yes, there was also time for making art. And I have noticed something odd happening in my life, kind of like a deja vu, just different. Similar kind of circumstances, situations or images appearing two or three times in a short period, without any relations between them. Only that I see them connected because they are so similar and unique in a way. I am feeling, wow, I just saw the exact same situation in a different way yesterday. I guess this means something, just not sure what. Let me explain it with an example concerning my art.

Recently I saw an image on the Internet of an adult woman sitting on a small children’s rocking horse. I liked it for its weirdness, and saved it as inspiration to draw from later. During the open studio event, I met the wood-carving artist Bodo Henke. One of his small sculptures was really adorable, so I decided to buy it – a horse with a rider, who is much too large for the horse…

When I came home, I realised the similarity to the image I had found in the internet. So I decided to actually start drawing my version of the lady on her rocking-horse. To me my painting looked more like a horse on a carousel. I decided to add white stripes and turn the horse into a Zebra, to express my connection to Africa and it just looked more exciting.

Yesterday, at the harbour festival, I saw an exquisite, antique, mini carousel for children. To my amazement, the riding figures on it actually were Zebras!

(Click on the images to see them in full.)

 

In between admin and other work, I also really take great pleasure in experiencing the spring for the first time in our own garden. I love to watch all the sprouting and blooming, and revel in the shapes and colours. Here are some impressions:

(Click on the images to see them in full.)

 

With the spring weather and more sun, I have also felt much more like getting out and do things. We have been to visit several artists in the region during an open studio day, watched the aeroplanes land and take-off from the side of a highway during sun-downers (a Namibian habit of celebrating the sun going down with a drink and good company) and briefly visited the harbour festival in Oranienburg. Here are some pics:

I wish you an awesome, happy and creative week ahead!

PS. if you missed my previous post, please have a look for the exciting announcements of our up-coming film debut in Berlin.

 

 

Kreativ im Grünen – Land Art Workshop

(Apologies to all my English-only readers. I am offering a land art workshop in Germany and so this post is in German. If you have any questions regarding this workshop, please use the comments option below and I will gladly answer you in English.)

webLAndArtWorkshop_ImkeRustPoster

Sehnen sie sich auch nach neuem Ausdruck, Natur und kreativem Schaffen?

Der Frühling ist die perfekte Zeit auch unsere Seele aufblühen zu lassen und neue Impulse in unser Leben zu bringen.

Lust auf etwas Neues und eine Auszeit vom Alltag? Dann lade ich sie herzlich ein, gemeinsam mit mir ihre Kreativität und die Natur neu zu entdecken.

Sie brauchen keine Vorkenntnisse, nur Offenheit, Freude an der Natur und Lust sich auszuprobieren.

webIRust_DSC02090(c)

Ziel des Workshops ist

  • zu inspirieren
  • die Freude am kreativen Schaffen und Ausdruck in und mit der Natur wieder zu entdecken.
  • Grundkenntnisse über die Möglichkeiten und Vorgehensweisen bei Land Art zu erwerben.
  • den bewussten Umgang mit der Natur, Materialien und Prozessen zu vermitteln.
  • Spaß am gemeinsamen Gedankenaustausch und kreativen Schaffen haben.

Wann:                       Jedes 2te Wochenende oder auf Anfrage (der nächste Termin: 9./10. Mai) 

Samstag 12h00 – 18h00 und Sonntag 11h00 – 18h00

Treffpunkt:               Atelier Imke Rust, Birkenstr. 11, OT Neu-Friedrichsthal, 16515 Oranienburg

Teilnehmer:              3 bis 6 pro Workshop (nur mit vorheriger Anmeldung)

>>> Bitte mitbringen:

  • Offenheit, Neugierde und Phantasie
  • Skizzen- oder Schreibblock oder Papier, Bleistift, Radiergummi
  • Wenn vorhanden: Fotoapparat, Taschenmesser, Korb oder Tasche zum Sammeln von Naturmaterialien
  • Wetter und naturtaugliche, bequeme Kleidung und Schuhe
  • Mittagessen – zum Teilen und gemeinsamen Essen
  • Etwas zu trinken für unterwegs.

Tee und Kekse für zwischendurch stehen bereit.

Wir werden Zeit draußen im Wald und auch im Atelier verbringen. Alles ist in kurzer Laufentfernung.

 

Nächste Termine:

9. -10. Mai 2015 (Samstag 12h00 – 18h00 und Sonntag 11h00 – 18h00)

23. – 24. Mai 2015 (Samstag 12h00 – 18h00 und Sonntag 11h00 – 18h00)

6. – 7. Juni 2015 (Samstag 12h00 – 18h00 und Sonntag 11h00 – 18h00)

Auf Anfrage gestalte ich auch gerne Workshops zu anderen Zeiten (min. 4 Teilnehmer).

Über mich, Imke Rust:

Ich bin eine namibisch-deutsche Land Art und multimediale Künstlerin, aufgewachsen in der Wüste Namibias. Seit 5 Jahren pendele ich zwischen meiner Heimat und Deutschland, zwischen Wüste und Wald. An der Universität von Südafrika absolvierte ich mein BA Degree in Visual Art und bin zweimalige Gewinnerin des wichtigsten Kunstpreis Namibias, der Standard Bank Namibia Biennale. In zahlreichen Solo und Gruppenausstellungen wurden Arbeiten von mir weltweit ausgestellt. Über ein Stipendium des Deutschen Akademischen Austauschdienstes (DAAD) kam ich 2006 das erste Mal nach Berlin.

Als Kuratorin der National Art Gallery of Namibia konnte ich auch fundierte Kenntnisse der Business-und Managementseite der Kunstwelt erwerben. Des Weiteren habe ich ein umfangreiches Kulturaustauschprojekt zwischen Namibia und Berlin mit einem deutschen Partner initiiert und über mehrere Jahre geleitet.

In meiner eigenen Kunst zieht es mich immer wieder raus in die Natur. Meine Freude am kreativen Schaffen teile ich gerne, unter anderem mit einem Land Art Projekt mit 8 afrikanischen Künstlern im größten National Park Namibias (Etosha), einigen Kunst Workshops in Namibia und Berlin, Installationen im öffentlichen Raum und über meinen Blog.

Ich freue mich darauf meine vielseitigen Erfahrungen, Tipps und Wissen mit euch zu teilen und euch bei der Entstehung eurer eigenen Land Art Arbeit zu begleiten.

Kennen sie jemanden der sich für diese Workshops interessieren könnte? Dann wäre ich ihnen sehr dankbar, wenn sie diese Information mit ihnen teilen!

Hier noch ein paar Bilder von vorherigen Workshops und eigenen LandArt Arbeiten:

Cats Raising Money for Cats

Everyday, when I switch on my computer, I look at this adorable fluff-ball:

The adorable fluff-ball Princess Clarissa

The adorable fluff-ball Princess Clarissa

She is my cat and she is a real princess.

She even has her own throne, on wheels, decorated with the insignia crown of her royal highness…

Princess Clarissa on her very own thrown.

Princess Clarissa on her very own throne.

She’s got attitude, she is goofy and does not care the least what you think about her odd lying positions and her aloof behaviour.

But, do not call her fat. Her sensitive heart is deeply hurt when somebody dares to call her fat – she will never honour you with another glance, never mind a purr….

And to rescue the situation her servant (ie me) has to explain, that she is not fat, it is just that her pretty head is a bit too small, and she has a lot of fluffy fur.

And no – nobody is allowed to touch her silky soft fur! That is just not on with royalty!

Her name is Clarissa.

Named after the great author Clarissa Pinkola Estes.

And Clarissa hails from the SPCA in Windhoek.

I am so grateful to have this little princess in my life and always try to support the SPCA. I believe that they are doing such important work and play a huge role in animal welfare.

Being an artist with a minimal and ad-hoc income I often was not able to support their work as much as I wanted to. But I have found ways and means to support the SPCA and Cat Protection Society of Namibia, for instance, by donating paintings of dogs for their fund-raising auction.

Recently I made a fun painting of a cat and shared it on Facebook. This painting reminded Ms Susanne Jaspert of her own cat, another cat hailing from the lands of SPCA, and she decided to buy this painting.

I was so excited that my pink cat painting found a loving home, as cats and paintings all need loving homes!

SOLD. Untitled, Ink & Acrylic on acidfree paper 170g/m2 29,7 x21cm

SOLD. Untitled, Ink & Acrylic on acidfree paper 170g/m2
29,7 x21cm

What better excuse to donate the proceeds to the SPCA? A cat painting helping the cats and dogs of the SPCA and supporting the work of the people who care for them.

Why am I telling you all this?

Because, I often felt helpless and too poor to help and yet there are so many ways to help out. It does not need to be in big ways. But maybe something you love doing can be donated or used in order to support a cause close to your heart? I hope that this might inspire you to find a way how you can help and remind you to go out and just do it.

Or to adopt your own princess or prince from the SPCA and let them sneak into your heart and soul.

And as I was preparing this post I searched through my photos to decide which pictures to use and as you can imagine, it is not easy if you have the cutest and goofy-est SPCA cat in the world. So here is a small selection which I just have to add, as they also give you a glimpse into how important this cat is in my art making.

Imke Rust – Wieviel Namibia steckt in ihrer Kunst?

Imke Rust – How much Namibia can be found in her art?

Last Tuesday was one of those nervously exciting days… I have been invited for an hour-long interview on Deutschlandradio Kultur. The interview forms part of a series called ‘Im Gespräch’  – I would translate it as ‘In Conversation’. Interesting and inspiring people from many different backgrounds are invited to share their thoughts and experiences during these interviews.

Imke Rust busy making the SubRosa Artwork. Photo by Steffen Holzkamp (c)

Imke Rust busy making the SubRosa Artwork. Photo by Steffen Holzkamp (c)

I felt so honoured and grateful that they have invited me! And at the same time, I realised how big this is, and how much I want to make it count and how scared I am of me messing it up.

Even though I have talked publicly before and believe that I am usually faring quite well, nevertheless I still get nervous as hell. Fortunately the preparations team was super and the interviewer, Britta Bürger, was awesome and I felt safe and welcome.

Once my nervous coughing subsided and we were on-air the time passed so quickly. Before I knew it we were done. It felt as if I woke up from a dream, but have totally forgotten what it was about, except for a faint, very vague memory.

I only arrived home late that evening after a busy day in town. When I switched on my computer, I was overwhelmed to see so many emails of friends and strangers congratulating me and commenting on the interview. I was even more overwhelmed to see that almost 400 people have visited my webpage and clicked through many different pages. Wow – this was an absolute sky-rocketing record for me.

I am so grateful that people have listened to my interview and felt it was interesting enough to find out more on my webpage. Thank you!

For everybody who missed it, if you are curious to hear me talking about my background, Namibia and my art, you can still listen to it on the archive page of Deutschlandradio Kultur, by clicking on the link below. Sorry, once again this is only in German without any translation.

I have had several requests to have my webpage and blog in German. Strangely my German writing is not as fluent, even though it is my mother-tongue. And as much as I wish I could share everything in German too, I just do not have the time to translate it myself or the money to pay for somebody to do it for me. Maybe one day I can change that!

Ok, here is the intro to the interview.

Die Namibierin Imke Rust steckt schwarze Rosen in die Wüste, klebt Regenwolken auf Felsen und lässt Plastik-Goldfische in Eis-Bächen schwimmen. Häufig sind es symbolische Kunstprojekte, mit denen die Künstlerin vor der massiven Umweltzerstörung warnt, die Namibia durch Uran- und Phosphatabbau droht. Sie ist die Nachfahrin einer weißen Missionarsfamilie, die in das damalige Deutsch-Südwestafrika auswanderte.

Click here to read more and listen to the interview.

Klick hier um weiterzulesen und das Interview zu hören.

We are talking more about this artwork: Coat of Arms by Imke Rust

We are talking more about this artwork during the interview: Coat of Arms by Imke Rust

Learning From the Ancient Rainmakers

The world is in upheaval.

Do you also feel a sense of helplessness and anxiety, when you turn on the internet, radio or television, only to be bombarded with daily increase of violence, war, terror, poverty, sickness and disaster all over the world? And in addition to the world news, do you feel a rise of death, tragedy, disease and problems within your personal circle of friends, family or acquaintances?

Crying Oryx (Acrylic & charcoal on canvas) ©Imke Rust

Crying Oryx – an artwork I painted last year in despair over the lack of proper social care in Namibia. (Acrylic & charcoal on canvas) ©Imke Rust

I do. And I have started to avoid the news as much as I can, in an effort to prevent myself from becoming depressed and sad. To escape the feeling of being so powerless about what is happening in the world, far away and sometimes really close-by. But I keep wondering if blocking out what is happening is the answer? Is it right to try to ignore what is happening in Syria, the Ukraine, Irak, Central Africa etc. ect.? And how can I possibly help somebody, even closer to home who is struggling with cancer, with depression, lack, fear and so much more?

The answer is probably different for everybody, but I have come to this:

We are all one

That is my believe. And that means, if something happens to any being, it happens to me. So yes, what is happening on the other side of the world IS affecting me (if I watch the news or not).

But turning that thought around, it also means, that what I am doing, feeling or thinking, is also affecting the rest of the world. So maybe, if I focus less on the negative and instead try to increase the positive vibe, inspiration and love, it can help everybody everywhere. If more and more people will do that, it will spread… Remember how it only took one best friend or one great teacher at school, to turn your life around? And once you felt empowered or loved, suddenly you could be a blessing to others around you, too?

Where can I (can you) be that one special person that makes a difference in another’s life?

Live in the here and now

What can I do right here and right now to help? I realised that I might not be in a position to stop the Ebola virus or the wars raging in the world. And I most likely cannot heal a sick friend or bring back a lost loved one, but I can give a smile to the person on the street, support my friends and family with some practical stuff, emotionally or spiritually and approach everybody I meet with respect and kindness. I can be the rainbow in somebody’s cloud and a sunbeam in somebody’s dark day. I can offer some inspiration, some light-heartedness and some alternative perspectives. There are many small (and bigger) things I can do to improve somebody’s life in the here and now. That is what I want to focus on, because I believe that is the most effective and useful, which I know I can do. And for those who are not here, I can offer a prayer and beam over some positive energy and love.

Mostly, let us help where we can and not worry about the stuff that is out of our reach. While we pray for peace in the world, let us remember to act peacefully and lovingly towards our neighbour, the cashier and the beggar you are passing in the street.

The outer reality is shaped by my inner reality.

Yes I do believe that, and even if it is often difficult to grasp, I feel its truth in my life more and more with increased awareness and time.

I would love to share a little story which I found doing research on the old practice of rainmaking. It made me think and remember that this is probably one of the deepest secrets to understand when making rain or trying to change the world (or your life).

Cloud experiments by Imke Rust (Acrylic on Paper)

For a long time I have been experimenting with different aspects of ‘making rain’ as a way to understand reality, spirituality and how and if we can influence what is happening around us. Here are drawings of raining clouds.  ( ©Imke Rust, Acrylic on Paper, each 29 x 21cm)

There was great concern in a small village as the rains were not coming. Without the rain in due time there would be no harvest and they would not survive the harsh winter. The rainmakers they sent for created elaborate ceremonies, but without success.

Finally they remembered an old man living on his own high up in the mountains, who could possibly make rain. The sent for him and he came. He was asked what he needed to make rain and he asked for a small hut outside of the village and that the villagers would bring him a bowl of rice everyday and place it outside of the hut. ‘That’s all?’ they asked and he affirmed: ‘Yes, that is all.’ He walked through the village and then left. It took three or four days and then it finally rained.

When the man was asked, how he managed to create the rain, he answered:

‘When I came into the village, I saw that you were not in harmony with each other and with nature. So I have asked myself where there is disharmony in myself. I sat quietly with this question and returned myself to order and harmony. Through this (my) harmony, nature could remember its own harmony again, and it could rain.’

The original story, in German, was written by Harald Jordan, Orte der Kraft, and found at http://www.news.ita-est.de/der-regenmacher/ .

 

So, I am trying to live a harmonious life, to be in peace with my immediate surroundings and myself and to help where and if I can. And trust that the rest will have to take care of itself somehow, especially if there are more and more people who are willing to spread good energy through their own lives in their own ways and means.