Brené Brown is an American researcher from Houston and her TED Talk, “The Power of Vulnerability”, has reached nearly 31 million views. Her books inspire and help us when we are pondering life’s big questions – “Who am I?” What do I want to be when I grow up?”. Titles like “Daring Greatly”, “Rising Strong”, “The Gifts of Imperfection” incentivize us to read on but also leap into action.
Another favourite is Yoda! His quotes resonate as much as Steve Jobs’. I remember the scene in The Empire Fights Back, on the marshy planet, Dagobah. Luke is trying to extract his X-wing fighter out of the swamp. He sees that it is too big for him and says, “All right, I’ll give it a try.” Yoda is encouraging Luke to commit fully, win or lose. He senses the youngster’s failures within his mind. Yoda sees that if Luke is unable to commit, then he will fail so he says, “Do or do not, there is no try.”
The Power of “Do” helped me overcome the fear of vulnerability as I take yet another step toward discovery. Once again with no formal training, my first photographic exhibition, “Stopped and Found” will be installed today for public viewing from Sep 13 to Oct 31 at the aptly named restaurant, “Starving Artist” 505 Mt Pleasant Rd at Davisville in Toronto.
I am indeed “starving” as I have been seeking a long lost same passion. It’s been ten years ago since I lost my food business. Recently I felt a nudge, then a push, each time I take a photo on my Note 3. Who would take me seriously? I’ve never shot with real camera, a DSLR, a digital single-lens reflex camera? I had to google it. I take photos instinctively, joyfully, leisurely, whenever I feel and see something which moves with me, awakens me, stirs me. One day, my friends were talking about “composition”. Again I had to look it up.
Since contests and competitions are hard to resist (after all, I am a squash player), I saw the Toronto Public Library’s posting in April for artists to submit their work to be displayed in their fourteen galleries. On a whim like Luke Skywalker, I tried and created an artist statement, bio, and portfolio and hit “send”. Leave it to the universe to decide I reasoned.
Meanwhile my squash friend and I decided one day to pop into “Starving Artist”, a new neighbourhood restaurant which serves waffles and saw an artist’s paintings on their walls. Turns out they support local artists by allowing them to display and sell so I sent them my Library portfolio.
Tonight is a gathering of friends to celebrate this act of “daring greatly”! I’m ready. And it is no longer “try”, it’s time for “do” and maybe “done”. I am excited, terrified, and liberated – an emotional roller coaster but we all win because at the end of the day, I know myself better and we all get to have fun and enjoy dessert waffles!
What I desire and aspire to is the hope my photographs will bring to others and stir this deep emotion I felt when I first saw Barnett Newman’s painting, “Vir Heroicus Sublimis” in MOMA, New York City.
Vir Heroicus Sublimis
“The Latin title of Barnett Newman’s painting can be translated as “Man, heroic and sublime.” It refers to Newman’s essay “The Sublime is Now,” in which he asks, “If we are living in a time without a legend that can be called sublime, how can we be creating sublime art?” His response is embodied in part by this painting—his largest ever at that time. Newman hoped that the viewer would stand close to this expansive work, and he likened the experience to a human encounter: “It’s no different, really, from meeting another person. One has a reaction to the person physically. Also, there’s a metaphysical thing, and if a meeting of people is meaningful, it affects both their lives. It’s no different, really, from meeting another person. One has a reaction to the person physically. Also, there’s a metaphysical thing, and if a meeting of people is meaningful, it affects both their lives.”
Affecting people’s lives, leaving a positive and meaningful imprint, no matter how big or small, is my aspiration and “nature is full of infinite causes” (Leonardo da Vinci) is my inspiration. Oh and by the way, “Stopped and Found” will also be showing at the Toronto Public Library, Agincourt branch gallery, for the month of May 2018. Dare and do.