Tag Archives: rituals

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

Are You Walking in Circles?

I am suspicious of video art…

Usually I either do not understand it, or it is boring or I just do not feel like watching for what feels like a lifetime to ‘get’ it. And yet, I have been lured into making my own video art. At least I hope that my video art is short and easy to understand. And if you do not understand it, at least it will have been so short, that you hopefully will not feel like you have wasted half your day on it.

And so, today I would like to introduce to you one of the works of my last exhibition, Walking in Circles. The work is conceptualised to be running continuously without any stops. So much for me disliking long videos… 😉 Don’t worry, in reality it is only an 18 second clip, looped and presented to you here in a bite-size piece of 3 minutes (or shorter if you press the stop button 😉 ). After you have watched the video, please feel free to read on, as I share my thoughts behind the work below.

A Meditation On Life and Change

This is a meditative work, where seemingly nothing changes, no matter how long you keep watching. When watching a video, we somehow expect that something new will happen, that there is a story to be told, a new action introduced or at least a beginning and an end. This video is moving along, but nothing changes. I could have been walking for 10 minutes or 24 hours, but you will not know. And there is no end, unless you leave the room or press the Stop button.

This could have a calming effect. Just like the cycles of nature, or day and night following each other without fail. So if you have a lot of turbulence in your life, this video could bring calm to it. It provides repetitive, calming stability and presence. Step for step, circle for circle you can let yourself be drawn into the moment and know that the important things will always remain constant. The cycles of nature will turn. The sun will rise again. You can rest, slow down and trust the process.

This could also have a very different effect on you. You might feel stuck in a rut. You might yearn for a change. But the video does not provide that, no matter how long you stare and wait. In this case, watching the video could be a meditation, leading you to the understanding, that if you want something to change, YOU need to change. Unless the person walking in the circles actually makes the conscious decision to step out of that ring into the next, everything will stay the same.

Are you willing to step outside of the circle? And change the course of history?

Consciously stepping out of the circle... © Imke Rust

Consciously stepping out of the circle… © Imke Rust

About the work:
‘Walking in Circles’ by Imke Rust
 18 seconds, looped indefinitely,  projected against a wall. or on a vertically placed screen.
 Performance /  HD Video piece
 Concept & Performance: Imke Rust ©
 Video: Steffen Holzkamp
 April 2012
 Location: grounds of the Salt Company (PTY) Ltd, Namib Desert.

Secret ingredients for making rain…

IRust_DSC01338(c)

Ok, I have decided to share my secret list of ingredients for making rain with you 🙂 .

When we wish to manifest a different reality in our lives, we must firstly set a clear intention. Then we need to put the energy closest linked to that state into a creative act – such as art, music, dance or a ritual. Add a huge bucket of trust and stir in hands-full of patience. Regularly add generous amounts of gratitude and sprinkle with as much fun and creativity as you can find. Decorate with light-heartedness and celebration.

As you might have guessed, this is an update on my last post “Waiting for rain” and you are probably curious to hear if my little rainmaker was successful.

After I made my ‘little rainmaker’ and writing about it in my last post, nothing much happened for a few days. And I started to get doubts. Maybe the rainmaker was too small? Or maybe the stone which I selected, was wrong – after all, it came from the Namib desert, a place which seldom sees rain. Maybe it just had forgotten the feeling of rain? So just to be absolutely sure, I decided to remind the stone and myself of the feeling of water, by making it stand in water, and refilling the water every day, saying my thanks to nature.

IRust_DSC00944(c)

There was some rain on the 4th of February, but not much. Just enough that I decided to re-draw the cloud image and rain drops on the stone, as the image has been washed away a little bit. Through doing so, I reaffirmed my gratitude for every little drop of rain that we are getting.

IRust_DSC01277(c)

All the time I regularly thought about our believes and superstitions surrounding rain. As kids we were told that eating up your food would allow it to rain and I still say that to friends when they are over for dinner. In Namibia we also say that you must not run to take down the washing from the line, when the first drops fall, as this will surely chase away the rain…

So when the first drops appeared  I rather took a picture of my washing and the drops, happy about every little bit of moisture and not worry about it getting wet.  Quietly celebrating each one of the few drops which our sky managed to squeeze out of the promising clouds. Even if once again, the drops stopped coming soon after they started… (Note to self: the washing believe does not seem to hold water in either a literal or figurative way. 😉 )

Raindrops on my washing

Raindrops on my washing

First raindrops on the new rainmaker (7 Feb)

First raindrops on the new rainmaker (7 Feb)

On my birthday, the 7th of February, maybe as a special birthday gift, we had the first real rain. (Another note to self: it really takes a lot of patience, trust and many little prayers of thanks to get it to rain, but eventually it will rain.)

Ok, I acknowledge that I hoped the little rainmaker would bring lots of rain within two or three days. But maybe I just need more practice and more faith. And at least making and nurturing the little rainmaker  gave me a sense of being proactive and positive in a time, when many people are starting to be talking about the imminent drought that we might be facing this year with a doomsday face and spreading the fear.

I learned that even if we can (and should be able to) influence reality with the right intentions and actions  a little bit nature still has a way of following its own rhythms, but it might also be reminding us of some valuable lessons. We have been blessed with several really good rainy seasons and we have started to take water for granted again. We have wasted water, used it without being conscious about our actions or without remembering how very blessed we are and saying thanks.

And even if my little rainmaker has not yet brought Namibia or my garden the wonderful rains which I hoped for, I still have faith that we will also survive this year and this season.And that the rain might still come…

Last, but not least the little rainmaker provided me with regular joy watching the wild animals coming to drink from my installation. In the very first picture is a wild yellow mongoose and below is a red-eyed bird. I do not know the scientific name of the bird, but I happen to know this bird personally, as I had the pleasure to share its life for the past few months. She and her husband have nested in my garden and I could watch them raise their young chick, teaching it to fly and celebrate life.

Red-eyed bird drinking from the rainmaker installation

Red-eyed bird drinking from the rainmaker installation

Waiting for Rain

It is very hot and dry. All Namibians are yearning for the rain to come. So am I.

I have decided to make another, small ‘rainmaker’ work and place it in my garden in hope to set the right energies free to let there be rain. I have made my first “Rainmaker” artwork in 2010. You can click here to be taken to pictures and information on that 🙂 .

For some time now I have been experimenting with the idea that combining creative energy and ritual with the right intentions should be able to influence the ‘reality’. In simple terms: I am trying to figure out, if a rain dance can really produce rain.

And if so, what ingredients are needed? Are there specific magical forms, rhythms, sounds or actions that are needed? Do we really need to dance to get rain, or could it be another creative expression? (Since I am not a dancer, this question is actually quite on top of my list…)

While I am still hoping to one day stumble on a copy of “Rain Dancing for Dummies”, I have settled to do a lot of reading in related matters, from traditional beliefs and cultures from all over the world to artists who have explored similar concepts, like Joseph Beuys.

And while I am at it, I thought, it will not harm to start experimenting with it already. So here are some pictures of my drawing of a raining cloud made to focus the intention on the reality which I would like to see and feel.

I have made it a few days ago and yesterday there were some promising clouds but no rain. Today there are some more clouds, so I am keeping my fingers crossed… and my intentions focused on the cool refreshing wetness of rain…

Rainmaker on my stoep (local word for verandah)

Rainmaker on my stoep (that is what Namibians call a verandah)

20cm high flat stone, sepcially collected for this purpose from the Namib. I made the drawing with white Chalk drawing.

+-20cm high flat stone, specially collected for this purpose from the Namib. I made the drawing with white Chalk, so that it can wash off with the first rain…

Some clouds in the sky in the day I have made the drawing.

Some clouds in the sky on the day I have made the drawing.

 

Can art do more?

Imke Rust Saltcircles

Photographing the first day’s work of the ‘Saltcircles’ during a misty sunset. (photograph by Steffen Holzkamp)

Art can be thought-provoking, inspiring and make the world more beautiful. But can it do more?

Part of my being is that I question everything. I love understanding the relations between things, the ‘why?’ of everything. I also love to find alternative solutions to problems or do things other people think cannot be done.

Often I ask myself, why am I doing art? What ‘real’ purpose does it serve? And can it do more than just look pretty, be a clever idea or make people think? Somehow all these things have not yet completely satisfied me. Yes, they all have merit and even a purely decorative painting has its purpose, but I believe there is more to life and more to art.

This has led my search, amongst others, to old, shamanic traditions. Somewhere during my art history studies I came across a reference to Ethiopian healing scrolls. If a person was sick, the priest would make scrolls according to specific rules (for instance the scroll needed to be as long as the person’s height, if I remember correctly), on which they painted symbols and wrote prayers. These scrolls were then taken home by the sick person and were viewed every day till the illness was cured. Interesting – art made to heal somebody?

Again and again I stumbled onto references where art is used for protection, fertility, health, initiation or to manifest a desired state. I became more aware that in olden days the shamans and priests made use of what we today call art (dance, painting, sculpture, music, etc.) to do their work of healing, blessing and manifesting. Since I read about the healing scrolls, I have been looking at the link between art and spiritual and mythical traditions and beliefs more closely. I do believe that under certain circumstances, art has more power and effect than what we normally imagine, and so I decided to try and be much more conscious about what kind of art I am making and why and how…

Working in the Moon valley, Namib Desert

Working in the Moon Valley, Namib Desert (Photograph by Steffen Holzkamp)

Be the change that you want to see in the world

In 2007 I made my first conscious work into this direction. I developed a personal Yin & Yang symbol to harmonize and balance the male and female energies in my life (Click here if you are curious). In 2010, I hoped for rain and made a work entitled ‘Rainmaker’ (read more about it here) – this was the start of becoming more interested in working directly in nature. Towards the end of last year the general concern about the environmental threats posed to the Namib desert by increased mining and industrial activities and proposed plans for off-shore mining of phosphate on the Namibian coast, started growing. Having grown up in Swakopmund and still considering it one of my homes, I, too, am concerned and decided to find ways in which I can do my part “to make the world a better place” and protecting the environment.

I realized that protesting or being against what I consider to be a threat is not the way to change things – or at least not my way. Instead I looked at ways of putting energy into the reality I would like to experience: a balanced, healthy and protected environment, in which all beings co-exist in a harmonious way, without destroying each other. This is based on the spiritual idea of ‘what you sow is what you reap’.

Planting black 'roses' in the Namib Desert

Planting black ‘roses’ in the Namib Desert (Photograph by Steffen Holzkamp)

The works had to fulfill at least one of two different purposes:

  1. to protect, bless and heal the land
  2. to make the threats visible and conscious, because if you have looked into the eyes of the danger, you understand it better and loose the fear and can act from a stronger base.

Loosely based on different aspects of old shamanic and spiritual traditions from all over the world, I tried to find my own formal approach, use of form, symbols, rituals and materials according to my intentions to produce my art or healing works.

Click here to be taken to see a small selection of the resulting artworks and brief descriptions.