This is a guest post from Stephanie Schlatter.
Thousands and thousands of people descend upon the streets in celebration, more people than I have ever seen in one place before. One starts out at a local church and then walks, and walks, among the sea of people draped in the traditional white, chanting, clapping, singing and making music, until you arrive at the large open area that is your destination. Upon arrival there is more celebration and for the faithful many hoses shooting out holy water. You can’t help but join in, your spirit soaring as you are surrounded by people who seem to have surrendered to the abandon of festival.
January for me often involves a trip to Ethiopia where I teach art to 4- to 6-year-old sweeties. This annual trip often coincides with the Festival of Timket. Timket is a religious holiday for Ethiopians, and awe-inspiring for foreigners lucky enough to witness its splendor.
Joining in the festival you’re submerged in the moment, a kind of elevated state of being that can happen when you’re immersed in the internal and external process of celebrating with body, voice, and spirit.
Internally, I was in awe of the sheer amount of people, all submerged in the moment and coming from a culture where celebratory abandon isn’t always honored… inside, my heart was screaming, “Yes!”
Externally, there were all those people: all that eye contact, clapping, chanting… and dancing… immersed in a culture that is not my own but has a kind of freedom of self.
It occurred to me that this experience of celebration is closely linked to my experience of painting.
Looking upon a canvas with beautiful paints ready, and by my side, is a cause for celebration. Such a joyful feeling… the party is about to begin.
Pushing the paint around until I see something I haven’t seen before, something that excites me… this is a dance with the canvas, a sacred process that is also a celebration. The process is internal as the creativity moves through you but also external as the canvas is a record of the exchange.
My hope is that these records of the interaction between painter and canvas become a permission slip for the viewer to tap into their own celebration.
Stephanie Schlatter is an Artist who draws from the world for inspiration. While she calls Grand Rapids, Michigan, home she’s often off on new adventures. Stephanie’s work reflects an expression influenced by other cultures which resonates a variety of influences that have given her work direction. Her mission is making sacred the celebration of art.
Website – Twitter – Facebook – Blog