Category Archives: Photography

Unseen Dialog

When earth is thinking... Photograph, tippex and scratchmarks, 15 x 10cm

When earth is thinking…
Photograph, tippex and scratch marks, 15 x 10cm

Recently I bought a beautiful book about the artist Ana Mendieta. Most people have never heard about her. And people who have heard about her, usually only know or have access to a small portion of her art.

“Ana Mendieta (November 18, 1948 – September 8, 1985) was a Cuban American performance artist, sculptor, painter and video artist who is best known for her “earth-body” art work. Originally born in Havana, Mendieta arrived in the United States as a refugee in 1961, shortly prior to the beginning of the Cuban Revolution.”

The book is entitled Unseen Mendieta and tries to give an insight into her creative output during her short live, which came to an abrupt end when she fell from her 34th floor apartment window after a row with her husband.

Several weeks after placing the order the book arrived by snail-mail in a blue postal bag. I was so excited!

Several weeks after placing the order the book arrived by snail-mail in a blue postal bag. I was so excited!

Although she produced many ground-breaking, interesting and amazing works, most of it had never been exhibited before her death and has left her family with the huge task of researching the work and try to decide what to make available to the public and in what form. A daunting task.

I am sharing this with you, as it made me think about my own work, and how many of my artworks or creative outpourings will probably never make it into a gallery or a publication. And I am not sure if anybody will care (or have the time and nerve) to comb through my computer and other documentation and artworks, and then decide which is worth to keep and to share. It is a task that even I would find too daunting.

I had to search through my old folders for some specific works which have been requested for a publication and realised that I have accumulated so much work, that I need to find a better system of storing and finding it again. If that is possible…

When airplanes leave secret signs in the sky...

When airplanes leave secret signs in the sky… (Photograph and scratched text, 10x15cm)

Fortunately today we have the internet and can share many works without ever officially exhibiting them. And people can see art they like, at their own convenience. No need to travel to visit a gallery to see an artist’s work from another continent. No need to stick to opening times of a gallery.

And today’s world also makes it possible to share the ‘little works’. The ones which happen in between, which are fun, creative, curious, etc. but which do not amount to a serious body of work ready for a gallery show. When I searched for my other artworks, I stumbled across some of these, and thought: they put a smile on my face every time I see them.

They make me feel alive and creative, in a different way than the more formal artworks.

Small Accidents happen and turn into tiny, fun artworks. (home printed images with water spilled onto them by accident, deliberate felt pen markings added) about 5x5cm

Small Accidents happen and turn into tiny, fun artworks. (home printed images with water spilled onto them by accident, deliberate felt pen markings added) about 5x5cm

Small Accidents happen and turn into tiny, fun artworks. (home printed images with water spilled onto them after accidentially finding out what cool effect that has) about 5x7cm

Small Accidents happen and turn into tiny, fun artworks. (home printed images with water spilled onto them after accidentally finding out what cool effect that has) about 5x7cm

I decided to share some of them with you, so that they get noticed by a few people, if only for a few seconds, possibly maybe gifting you with a smile or a short moment of curiosity before they return to their secret and forgotten virtual life.

After all, I believe art is visual communication, so it needs an observer to make it complete. I hope you enjoy this chat and turn my monologue into a dialog, even if that just takes place in your head.

Say What? Secret dialog happening between the rider statue and a bird. (Photograph with scratched text) 10x15cm

Say What?
Secret dialog happening between the rider statue and a bird. (Photograph with scratched text) 10x15cm

...and another secret dialog possibly happening between the miltary men in Istanbul.

…and another secret dialog possibly happening between the military men in Istanbul.

New Forest Explorations

Untitled nature art by © Imke Rust

Untitled nature art by © Imke Rust

On the weekend we explored a new piece of forest close to our home. I enjoy that there is still so many interesting places we do not know all around our new home and especially so much nature. The days are slowly getting longer and occasionally the sun shows her presence. I am deeply grateful for that.

Have you ever considered how conditioned we are by the environment we grow up in, and that we are familiar with? Have you felt overwhelmed by new landscapes in a positive or negative way?

I realised that I am still feeling unfamiliar with the environment and that whenever I am outside I enjoy getting to know and experience all these unfamiliar impressions, like a tourist would do. But just like a tourist, I am still very aware of not belonging. It takes time, but slowly I am feeling a bit more familiar with the forest, the weather, the space and the animals around.

With all this nature around us, I found it strange that so far I had not felt called to make any art outside. Once I realised this, I also understood that it does take time to adjust to a new environment, especially if it is so much the opposite of what you know.

I can now already identify a few local birds and trees by name. I am getting a bit more used and comfortable with the winter weather and the wetness of this area. I have watched deer grazing, a fox walking past, studied a red kite circling above our heads and now I have also seen my first wild boars in the forest! They saw us first, so to be totally honest, I just saw three large dark backs running away from us in a split second.

All this makes me feel blessed and honoured to get to know this world.

This weekend, on our walk through a forest, I suddenly regained the spontaneous inspiration to experiencing my surroundings creatively. While my husband continued his walk I stayed behind and just started. I found some wood shavings from a freshly cut tree and nearby a small V-shaped tree who called me….

It felt really good to be creating out in nature again and becoming aware of the challenges of a winter forest landscape. So different to a sunny desert plain…

Anyway here are a few pictures of my latest land art piece and I hope it will be followed by many more soon!

(Please click on the images for a larger view. Then use the arrows on the sides to get to the next image.)

PS. Just a few meters away from this work is the Oder-Havel canal, and at some stage I turned around to this:

Nawa = Good!

Nawa = Good!

NAWA!

That moment when a ship passes you on an outing to the forest and reminds you all is well, and does so in a language you only associate with home i.e. Namibia… For the non-Namibians: Nawa means ‘good’ in Oshivambo and is used pretty wildly, even by non-Oshivambo speaking people.

Why I Believe we can Make it Rain

Rainmaking Experiment #4 by Imke Rust

 

„Yes, I believe we can make rain and we should!

Is it easy? No, but it is definitely more constructive and fun, than being prophets of misfortune and disaster and clinging to our fears.”

That is what I wrote in my last blog.

I might have left you wondering if I am crazy. Or if there could possibly be some truth to it. Or both. I hope that at least you did consider the option that it is possible and I hope that there was a tiny little voice inside of you that wished it was true.

That little voice is in me, and even though it is little, it is very strong.

It is the voice of my inner child, my idealist, my investigator and my rebel. My mind, which is intensely tuned into the creative-solution-finder mode, loves taking up a challenge, especially when it comes to improving our experience here on earth. So together we all have a strong interest in finding out if rainmaking is indeed possible and if so, how and what we can do.

Those of you who have been following my blog for a while, or have explored my webpage, know that I have experimented with this for the past 5 years. I have read all information I could get on the subject and am always on the lookout for new understandings. I have been putting together my own ideas and insights and started a few different experiments and have planned a few more. As usual, I love to throw all my information together, stir it and see what speaks to me, what makes the most sense and what is practical. Then I weave together those aspects with my personal ideas and creativity in an intuitive process and see what happens.

Possibly the one thing most of us still easily associate with rainmaking is a rain dance. I think most people have heard of it, but very few have any idea how it works. Me included. The idea of the rain dance was the starting point for me. I assume that the fact that there is such a thing practiced in many cultures and over many generations, told me, that there must be some truth to it.

Only bummer is, that my dancing skills are pretty awkward and I do not know the steps. Dancing sounds like a suitable thing to do – just not for me.

So I tried to understand what of the dance makes it rain? Simply put, I think it is a combination of a few things:

  • People coming together with the same intention,
  • People expressing joy and gratitude, but also respect and reverence to the weather,
  • people changing the energy and vibration through their creative action or ritual
  • And since like attracts like, that vibration attracts and favours the vibration of rain.

 

Most of the time I am on my own and not with a bunch of people who would be willing to partake in my experiments, but the rest of those findings I can somehow integrate into my experiments. And add some more of my personal creative ingredients…

 

I could write forever about this, but let me rather just share my Rainmaking Experiment #4 with you:

Rainmaking Experiment #4

What:

See-through plastic bags filled with water and closed with a knot. These bags are then tied with fishing line to a branch, like a mobile. I enjoyed looking at it as often as I could. Every time I saw the drops I paused for a moment in awareness, gratitude and joy. I consciouly remembered the smell, sound and feeling of rain when I saw these oversized ‘raindrops’.

Ritual:

After having these mobile water drops hanging in my garden for a while I started to pinch a small hole into the bottom of one of the drops every day. Then I watched with gratitude how the water slowly poured out in small drops over some time. This ritual added another layer to the rainmaker, by giving it movement, real dripping water and continuity (for the duration of the dripping, but also for the daily morning ritual.)

Why:

To create rain, I guess it is helpful to remind nature of its watery and wet side. The plastic bags formed visual drops and on top of that were filled with water. Combined they looked like rain.

Once the installation was hanging for a while, I increased the sense of rain and water by releasing the water from the plastic bags in a ritual activity.

Outcome:

It started raining even before all drops were emptied and there were still more rains coming afterwards.

Please click on the images to see them enlarged and individually.

To find out more about my rainmaking experiemnts and ideas, please read my previous blogs on this subject HERE

Feeling the Drought in Me

'I am Desert' by Imke Rust

‘I am Desert I’ by Imke Rust (Photography, Digital print on Alu-Dibond)

There is a blurring, hot tension in the air. Even though I am not there, I am so familiar with this situation that my body physically reacts to it every time I think about it or remember the many years of experiencing this same intense and ominous collective fear of an upcoming drought.

I feel how this fear increases with every day in which the sun burns from the bluest skies with no cloud in sight. I feel the heat and the dust and the lack.

The lack of everything…

lack of aliveness and lack of hope.

I can taste the dryness.

But mostly I feel the silent terror and doom hanging in the air like an invisible monster.

I have experienced the impact of a serious drought. And I have experienced the fear oozing out of every wretched discussion, which repeatedly circled around the drought and the rain like a starving dog tied to a tree sniffing some fresh meat in the distance.

The elderly compared and remembered the many droughts they have experienced and seemed to revel in reciting their horrors. The younger, who could not rely on memories that much, were more likely to speculate according to the weather forecasts, the dreaded El-Niño phenomena or any other scientific statistics or findings. I remember these discussions as mostly negative, fearful and resigned, sometimes angry and usually interrupted only with long heavy pauses, knowing glances and deep sighs. For one or other reason, everybody seemed to know that we would be doomed with another great drought, as if by stating the worst that can happen, we are bracing ourselves for it. The few hopeful voices in between quickly got lost or talked into submission.

This fear and the helplessness have crept into my bones. As a child I listened to all these discussions in the hope that somewhere some one would have a solution or know for sure what is going to happen. Will it rain?

Hoping to find somebody who could say: it is going to be okay, even if it doesn’t. Even as a child I knew, that no matter what people said, the rains are not always forthcoming, that is just part of living in a desert country. So I hoped to find some way of creating hope and faith that the natural order of things are okay…

The older I became, the more resigned I became. I had accumulated more experience with dry years, with droughts and the impact it had on our life.

Yes, I fear the droughts. Deeply. But I came to fear one thing even more: the continuous doom saying and negative speculating that happens throughout the year, but increasingly in the rainy-season, when this seems to be the only topic on everybody’s minds. And the feeling of helplessness.

Sure, when the rains come and when they are good, we all are grateful for a moment, only to easily and quickly forget our moaning and return to life as we know and want it.

When the rains do not come, or let us wait too long, we are spiralling down into an ever darker abyss of fear, lack and death. I came to think of this as natural, but when I became more aware of physically experiencing the discomfort of cringing cells in my body whenever I think about this, I started to question what is happening. Even more so, when I realised that even far away from home, in Germany, I am not immune to this.

What is natural is that we are living in a very dry country – in Namibia, named after one of the oldest deserts, with unpredictable and variable rainfall. What (according to me) is not natural is how we deal with it.

I understand the fear, because I feel it too. But I refuse to believe that this deep fear and immense sense of being helpless at the hands of the weather is necessary, natural or useful. I also feel that the relentless doom-mongering and negativity is the worst way of expressing this fear or avoiding the situation.

This constant distress is killing our souls and we have let the drought creep into our hearts and veins.

I started thinking about the ancient San people in Namibia and then also about so many different ancient cultures, maybe the most well-known being the American Indians. All people throughout history were exposed to the unpredictability of the weather and to extreme conditions, droughts, floods, raging storms and endless freezing winters. Maybe it is idealistic of me to assume that the people long ago had a better relationship to the woes of the climate and nature, but from the stories that we have from that time, I am sure they knew something, which we have lost.

I guess the core difference is that they lived with deep respect and reverence towards nature and understood the importance of a healthy give-and-take relationship with everything around them. They understood themselves as a small part or children of this much larger Mother Earth.

We on the other hand have come to view ourselves as masters of the earth. We believe it is our birth-right to exploit any natural resources, to take without giving and separate and put us above the rest of nature.

We have made man the centre of the universe and profit our highest and only purpose.

Every time a drought looms, we are uncomfortably reminded, that we are not the masters of this universe. Our presumed intelligence, scientific and technological advancements and our arrogance all are futile, when the environment stops supporting us. When earth stops to produce new resources. When earth dries up and shrivels under our endless and greedy exploitation.

We are at the mercy of a benevolent environment and we are part of everything that happens. The old people understood that, we don’t.

With every drought we get angrier and more fearful. People like farmers who live closer to nature feel it first and the most intense, while others can ignore it for longer, as they have already distanced themselves so much from nature. Their money can still buy food, when the animals and plants on the farm already starve, but eventually their money also will have nothing left to buy.

What if we all would be willing and open to rethink the possibility living more in tune with nature again? Before nature forces us to. What if we would stop investing our energy in complaining and doomsaying and instead find better ways of prepare and deal with reality?

'I am desert II' by Imke Rust

‘I am desert’ by Imke Rust
Photography, Digital print on Alu-Dibond

I refuse to believe that we are separate or above nature. And I refuse to believe that we are powerless. Not only should we honour and respect mother earth, but we should accept the responsibility that comes with it. If we understand that we are but a small part of the whole, yet we are an important and powerful part.

If we would see us as the hand of a person, we would understand that the hand is subjected to what the body does, but at the same time, it also has an important purpose and function. It is powerful in its own right, but not of its own. It needs the body. And the body needs the hand. The hand cannot complain that it is starving, if it refuses to act in its power and pick the fruit and bring it to the mouth.

My research and exploration into old rainmaking traditions have shown me, that we have the answers and the power of our destiny within us. Yes, there are forces larger than us, but we are part of those, and thus we also can have an impact.

Rainmaking has become synonymous to me with actively co-creating our reality, to become conscious of our part in this grand oneness and act accordingly.

We can choose how we want to act out this role. We might not be able to change Namibia into a rainforest, but we can learn to accept that we are living in an arid country, we can take responsibility for living within the means of what is available and the courage to act as blessings to our surroundings.

We can honour and respect what we have, and express our joy and gratitude in a thousand ways.

We can use our power to change our ways and find ways to better serve our earth-body.

Yes, I believe we can make rain and we should!

Is it easy? No, but it is definitely more constructive and fun, than being prophets of misfortune and disaster and clinging to our fears.

Do you fear being at the receiving end of the weather and climate around you? In what ways do you deal with that fear? And what is your solution? Do you save water? Have you ever performed a raindance? Or have you consciously prayed for rain? I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

If you want to read more about my thoughts and actions on rainmaking, please click HERE to see a list of all blog posts on this subject.

( I started writing this as a short introduction to one of my rainmaking experiments which I wanted to share with you, but then it turned out to be a loooooong introduction and I decided to rather let you digest this first, and share the experiment with you in the next post.)

My New Year’s Resolution and a Gift for You

The Muse - by Imke Rust

The Muse – a self-portrait I have done this time a year ago while at home in Namibia.

The end of a year is the time when most of us take stock and plan ahead for the new year. Many friends are sharing their intentions, hopes and dreams on social media.

I, too, really want the next year to be awesome, but find it so difficult to put my desires into concrete shapes and words. My inner need to get more focussed has built up pressure in the past few days and my inability to focus has filled me with fear.

Today I decided to at least look through the things I have done in the past year and came upon the following text which I have written in September. It reminded me of a valuable lesson by which I have lived most of the past year, and probably should just continue to use as my motto in the next one, till I can fully embrace it.

I am sharing this with you, in the hope that it might inspire you too. Here it goes:

Sometime in 2013 when I felt really sick and depressed, and that already for a few months, I had this talk – with myself, or my higher self or God, well, that thing which sometimes answers you, by putting brand new and outrageous thoughts into your mind.

It went something like this:

Me: I finally want to be happy! And healthy!

It: Well, then just be happy and healthy.

Me: But I cannot. Cause I am depressed and my body is aching. Did you forget that I have a broken back, and ten other health issues on my plate on top of it?! Are you saying that it is my thinking and believes causing this?! It can’t be, because I have been trying to do all the right spiritual stuff and be positive and all that shit… and still here I am, feeling miserable, wanting to give up, but even too scared for that…. So?

It:      Just be.

Me (getting agitated): Grmpfff – I just told you, I am not. And it would be lying if I said that I am happy and healthy. And I will not lie. It is of no use.

It: No, just be. Breathe.

Me: Hä? (That is German for WTF?)

It: You know, how the world and you are trying to live by the Nike slogan: Just do it! ? That is ok, sometimes that is a real great advice, but right now I am giving you a new slogan, and yes, it sounds outrageous, but try it: Just be.

Me: Hey – hmmm, an improvement on the Nike slogan? Great, I like that! And it is even shorter than the Nike slogan, and less is more, so this is quiet cool.               I will try it.

And so I did.

Whenever I felt stressed, insecure or anxious, I stopped myself, took a deep breath and told myself: just be.

The beauty is, that in that moment I realise I am. I am everything, I am stressed or insecure, but I am also Imke, a human being, a woman, a creative spirit, a lover, a daughter, a friend… And I am part of this universe, I am love and I am kindness.

I (we?) often forget to firstly ‘just be’. Being is all we need to do.

There is nothing I need to do to be better or more accepted. We often put doing before being. When we remember to be and let our doing flow naturally out of our being, we start to live a more honest and happy life. We gain more strength and confidence in our actions, because they are fuelled by our true being and not by what we are told or tell ourselves we need to do.

Try it. For me it helps taking a deep breath, sometimes closing my eyes and then feeling into being. Consciously feel how I am being. Alive. Present. Aware.

It immediately calms me and gives me new strength. And it puts my fears of not doing enough or being perfect enough into perspective. I hope it might be the same for you.

And as a special gift I have created the image below and would love to send it to you in high-resolution so that you can either print it or use it as a screen-saver to remind you of this simple New Year’s resolution.

Just email me at imkerust(a)iway.na (Note: Please replace the (a) with an @ sign.) or leave a comment below and I will hurry to get it to you asap.

 

Wishing you a blessed and amazing 2015 filled with joy, love, health and abundance!

Just be.

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.

Autumnal Equinox

Hello Autumn (leaf work by Imke Rust)

Hello Autumn (leaf work by Imke Rust)

Yesterday I realised that we have just passed the autumnal equinox…

Ahh, I have to accept that summer is definitely over and the days are getting colder and shorter. I fear the cold and was just about to feel miserable, when I decided I just need to make friends with the situation.

And what better way than celebrating the beautiful things about autumn, like the red and yellow leafs with some creativity?

The wild vine covering my soon-to-be studio is slowly turning red. It is really beautiful and I have already collected and pressed the first of these red leafs.

(Click on the photographs above to see a larger view.)

I had the idea to type something onto these leafs. It did not work too well… but I had the opportunity to sit outside in the garden with my old typewriter (which my husband found in the trash). Touched by the cool sun and struggling with the fragility of the leaves, the stubborn, faulty typewriter, no idea what to write and my miserable spelling skills, I started to feel better.

As a welcome to autumn (for those of us living in the northern hemisphere), I decided to share a few of the imperfectly perfect results with you.

The typing worked best on a larger green leaf from the cherry tree.

Dear Universe, thank you for the different seasons in nature as well as in our lives. Thank you for the summer that has passed and the autumn on our doorsteps. Thank you that the sun keeps on shining, no matter what & the stars return every night. Even if we do not see them, they are there for us.

A little prayer of gratitude: Dear Universe, thank you for the different seasons in nature as well as in our lives. Thank you for the summer that has passed and the autumn on our doorsteps. Thank you that the sun keeps on shining, no matter what & the stars return every night. Even if we do not see them, they are there for us.

I even tried to type on this white feather which I found in the garden, but it was not really successful, I guess the ink tape of the typewriter is to old and dry. But I liked the photograph 🙂

White feather with love by Imke Rust

White feather with love by Imke Rust