I have been having such a grand time creating digital, surreal art that I decided to devote this post to the various pieces I’ve been busy working on. I’m having a great time, enormous fun, but on a more serious note, I am now getting out of my head the images I’ve longed to create for so long.
But this morning I decided to use it in this post because I read something in the news which made me very, very angry.
In the New Age type shlock, you’re not supposed to get angry or feel rage or be not nice, you’re supposed to understand where people are coming from, feel sympathy and empathise.
Well, stuff that today. And why? I read about the murder of a guy called Bijan Ebrahimi in the UK. He was, according to relatives, a “caring, loving and unselfish” man who was disabled, jobless and loved his garden and his plant baskets..
When Mr Ebrahimi saw vandals trying to wreck his garden, he took photos of them, the damage they’d caused and reported it to the police. In other words, he had the guts to stand up to bullies and thugs.
For his “crime” of taking photos to give evidence to the police, he was then accused of being a paedophile, taken away for questioning by the very police force which should have been protecting him, and then released back into a community which had turned into a lynch mob. He was later attacked by a neighbour in his house, beaten to death, dragged outside, doused in white spirit and set on fire.
We are always being told how superior Western society is but the attack on and murder of Mr Ebrahimi are not a rare occurrence in the UK. More Muslims are getting attacked, as are people of colour, and people with mental or physical handicaps.Another man a few years ago was driven from his home by a lynch mob when he was falsely accused of being a paedophile by the appalling Murdoch rag, the News of the World, which tried to present itself as a defender of the people by hunting down paedophiles in the vain hope it would cover itself in glory instead of the shit usually covering its hateful, shameful pages (and no, I don’t mourn it’s closure at all, I’d burn the rag if there was a copy lying around).
One woman took her handicapped daughter away in a car and killed herself and the daughter because she could no longer suffer the repeated harassment of hate groups because her daughter was handicapped and because the local police did sod all to help her when she was in appalling circumstances. Disadvantaged groups are facing more and more hate attacks which is appalling.
The Hate Media
The media in the UK, which is busily defending the idea of a “free press”, has been running a hate campaign against Romanians who, supposedly, to the last man, woman and child, are thieving parasites who are going to flood the UK and take jobs from decent, hardworking English people. And while they’re at it, they demonise the poor, the handicapped, all people from Eastern Europe, Muslims, anyone in fact who is “different”.
Witness too the hostility whipped up against the Roma people who, as a Romany nation across Europe, were collectively accused of kidnapping or trafficking white, blonde young girls (and we’ll forget about the dark-skinned young girls who are being trafficked in their thousands because there’s nothing quite like a white, blonde young girl to appeal to all the prejudices about dark-skinned people). Pity that the truth came out: the lass had been handed to the Roma family by her mother who couldn’t afford to raise her so gave her to another Roma family more able to care for her because family is everything in the Roma community, but hey, who cares about truth when you can conduct an easy-peasy smear campaign against a minority people who are relatively powerless vis-a-vis government and mass media.
And so, as someone of Iranian heritage and a person on disability due to his damaged back, Mr Ebrahimi became a victim of the lynch mobs who consider themselves judge and jury because they’ve been whipped into hysteria by politicians and media barons alike.
Whipping up hatred against “the other” is a great diversion from the fact that people’s problems aren’t caused by ordinary folk in the community, they’re caused by the parasitical banksters, monopolies who avoid billions in tax, huge corporations which bribe and corrupt politicians (not just in the UK, it’s the same in the US and among political leaders around the world) whose only motive is profit and the filthy dollar, regardless of who gets trampled on in the rush to amass more billions of pounds, dollars or euros.
Nevertheless, I don’t feel in the least forgiving to the like those who took part in the witch-hunt against Mr Ebrahimi. I wonder how they’re feeling today knowing they have the death of a gentle, kind, disabled man on their conscience?
We as human beings have a responsibility to behave like decent people and not allow ourselves to get whipped into frenzies, witch hunts and behave like monsters. I can’t count, for example, the number of e-mails “forwards” I’ve received or posts I’ve seen on Facebook which blindly spread hate mail because it feeds into particular prejudices, and hate mail which almost overwhelmingly is untrue but manufactured by hate merchants to spread mail. And the one thing that really gets up my nose when this sort of garbage is forwarded or reproduced on Facebook is when it’s done by people who claim to be spiritual or Christian.
So I decided to include the quote from Anais Nin because it puts into words the sort of society we’re living in today – where people are working in pressured conditions, often working in lousy environments, face long queues, traffic jams, and all too often are living like ants in an ant hill. Living costs are going up. Housing is becoming unaffordable.
Where WE NEED TO WAKE UP!
It’s easy to see why people let out their frustrations and anger on others viewed as not fitting in. Except that when we target people as “the other”, we forget that “the other” is us with all our hopes, fears, frustrations, anger and yes, rage. Because we live in societies which seem to be getting more hateful and more angry.
But it doesn’t let us off the hook of being civilised human beings, using our intelligence and making choices which are ethical and not the result of hysteria, hate or rage.
Because when we behave like lesser human beings, we are no better than those in Nazi Germany who joined the Jewish witch-hunts, watched Jewish houses smashed in Kristallnacht, turned away when Jewish people were forced into trucks and taken to concentration camps, or didn’t say a word when Roma people, the mentally and physically handicapped, the Christians who opposed Nazi Germany, union officials were also trucked away to be exterminated with Jews.
When poverty is rife, when unemployment is high, when young people can’t look forward to getting jobs or buy a house, then the same conditions exist which gave rise to Nazi Germany, just as we’re seeing the rise of the extreme right in the US, the UK, Greece and other countries across Europe.
We don’t want Nazi Germany to happen anywhere else in the world, ever again. It’s fantastic when anti-Nazi groups stand up against the thugs in far right groups. But it requires more than that. It requires those of us who value civilised society to examine our consciences, speak up and include all in our society to defeat racism, hatred and prejudice, a cancer in our society. Time to give all of these blights on our society an indecent burial.
Yesterday a nice piece of synchronicity popped into my life. I looked at a painting I’d done of The Magician which is, for me, about communication, creativity and bringing the spiritual to life on earth, and decided that the painting had done its dash for me in helping me move into art and writing my blog as book.
I wondered idly what to do with it as it’s quite heavy – had a lot of crushed fluorite in the body of The Magician. In the afternoon, a friend dropped by to get a note from me as he’s taking over our South Cyprus mailbox. He walked into my study, looked at The Magician and said: “I love that”. So I promptly said: “Take it home with you”. He looked quite surprised and dithered at first, but when I told him I’d been wondering what to do with the painting, he quite happily tucked it under his arm when he left.
In the afternoon, I was having a break and an earlier painting we’ve got on our wall, The Tree of Love, grabbed my attention. I created this in Traralgon, Victoria, when I was working on releasing some of the heavy stuff still stuck to me from my childhood. It started off very dark at the bottom, with black and a coffin with the old me inside, and a blossom emerging, but then got much lighter towards the top of the painting. I called it “The Tree of Life” but my friend walked in and immediately said: “Tree of Love”. Yesterday afternoon I decided it had done its dash in my life and I needed to get rid of all the dark stuff at the bottom.
So today I got stuck into some digital work on this painting, with two results, firstly, a new version of the Tree of Love, but also a merging of a photo of my face, looking upwards towards the light, with a photo of The Tree of Love, Mk 1, and a bit of fiddling with gizmo goodies on PicMonkey. For me, it’s a giant healing process and, I think, probably reflects how very happy I’ve been since I really embarked on working with digital art and writing regularly on my book as blog.
It is dedicated to the thousands of young students in France who demonstrated to protest at the deportation of a young Roma lass, Leonarda Dibrani.
She was forced to get off a bus full of classmates during a school outing before being deported to Kosovo on October 9 with the rest of her family.
The open-heartedness of the young people in France is wonderful. It’s a contrast to the 70% who have hardened their hearts, turned their backs on those in need and supported the police actions.
I think it’s brilliant to see so many thousands of young people, the hope of the future, refusing to embrace the racism promoted by the extreme right and taken up by a government hoping to get easy votes.
It might be remembered that, while Jewish people died in their millions in concentration camps, so did an estimated Estimates of the 220,000 to 1,500,000 Romanies, who were sent there by Nazi Germany in an effort to exterminate the Romany nation.
People shut their eyes and hearts to what was happening in those concentration camps where millions of Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, student activists, union officials, anyone deemed to be an enemy of the state were systematically murdered.
The demonisation of the Roma people across Europe follows in the footsteps of Nazi Germany and has alarming overtones of attitudes in that fascist nation.
Open our hearts, embrace love for our fellow human beings and say: Never again, not in our name!
Yesterday I created another digital art piece which I called “Starry, Starry Night”, words from “Vincent” by Don MacLean, which is a tribute to Vincent van Gogh (and yes, I have been to visit the Vincent van Gogh Museum in The Netherlands, quite awesome).
I created this from a photo I took and worked on digitallyy of a firework exploding in front of our apartment. We live close to the Mediterranean Sea and the Merit Hotel, which is right on the coast close to us, often holds fireworks displays. Recently there were two fireworks displays on successive nights, so I just snapped photos to my heart’s content as the sky was illuminated by the glittering lights and then worked with Photoshop and Corel afterwards.
But this past week, since I joined an on-line surreal digital art course, I’ve found lots of other gizmos. So on top of the digital art, I’ve super-imposed a photo I took in Pingelly, Western Australia, in 2005, of a cactus flower. These flowers only last a few hours so I was lucky my husband noticed and I was able to get shots of them before they faded away. And then I worked with some gizmos on PicMonkey with this photo being the end result.
This morning, to my delight, I found a good friend on Facebook had created a poem inspired by “Starry, Starry Night” and she has given me permission to reproduce it in this post, with many thanks to her for sharing her poetry:
“As night blossoms
In perfect muted tones;
The embryo sends forth
Her waves of life;
Creating for us a pathway
To the door
Hidden in the depths of her being;
Beckons us to enter
Into the light beyond,
To the diamond points
Of perfect existence.
Her pulsating current
Being so strong,
Is held in gentle containment
By the outspread wings
Of an angel.
Thus, do we rebound,
Headed away from the darkness
And into the light.
Aaah, the STARRY, STARRY NIGHT.”
– Pauline Leister
These are the two digital art photos I combined:
I sometimes feel like smacking my forehead and shouting “Duh!” because I’ve seldom posted the digital art I’ve been creating on thIS blog. So from now on, there will be a lot of digital art plus the occasional general post from me, but I can feel myself changing directions in a huge way now that I’ve discovered digital art plus different gizmos which help me create the images in my mind.
So here’s one which is really very dear to me. It is created from a photo I took of rainforest at Wollumbin (Mt Warning) on the far north coast of New South Wales. Where I used to live at Woodenbong, inland from the coast, there was a powerful mountain called Mt Lindesay which looks malevolent and intimidating. It gave off a forbidding energy, warning people not to come close, and I found out later that there was a cave in the mountain where Aboriginal medicine elders would sing people to sleep, that is, kill them.
On the other hand, when you stepped onto the soil of Wollumbin, you could feel an ancient energy which was welcoming and embraced you, quite different. Out of respect for the Bundjalung people of that region who regarded Wollumbin as sacred, we didn’t go any further than the very lower reaches, as they request that you don’t climb the mountain. But it was a beautiful experience to have felt such ancient, loving energy and see the fantastic rainforest.
And while I was living in Victoria, I met a lass who had found two large, powerful stones under a Boab tree and brought them home with her. You have to be careful with picking up objects in nature, particularly if they are connected to Aboriginal ritual work and I did feel it would have been preferable to have left them in place, but that might be wishful thinking, I’m not sure.
So recently I reworked a photo I took of the stone and dancing spirits – linked with lightning and storms – emerged as I fiddled around. So I have combined these spirits from what I call the Boab stone with the rainforest of Wollumbin, and hope those spirits – if they do miss their homeland in the Northern Territory – at least welcome a connection through Wollumbin. These are the original photos with the Boab stone underneath.
I live in North Cyprus which is a quiet little backwater and a small piece of paradise. There are no shopping malls here, little commercialisation, very few big brand names, no Shell, etc., petrol prices are set by the government, and most of the shops are small and independent.
I have put my Inner Shopper to sleep because shopping is not a priority here, there are no big shopping centres luring you in to spend your hard-earned dough. Some people go stir-crazy because they miss shopping so much, and head back to their home country. Others persevere and it really is interesting to see how you lead a different life when you don’t live to shop, you shop to live. You have time free for hobbies, creative pursuits, family and friends.
This was inspired, by the way, by a sign on Facebook today which I thought I’d share. We know that Walmart and the like pay lousy wages and rip-off workers in the developing countries where cheap products are manufactured for Western markets. We buy cheap clothes at the expense, for example, of garment workers in Bangladesh, hundreds of whom recently burned to death because they were working in manifestly unsafe working conditions.
So this Christmas, how about a re-think and a re-evaluation of your purchase plans for Christmas presents and goodies. Instead of taking the easy route and popping into supermarkets and big chain stores, perhaps you could give some thought to planning in advance, taking some time to scout out your local businesses and buying there to help these small producers to survive.
I read one comment that it’s cheaper to buy in the big shops and, yes, it is. People who put their heart and soul into producing good quality goods do charge more. But it’s worth it because you’re supporting creativity and someone attempting to live independently through their own handiwork.
To buy local means cutting down, perhaps, on the number of presents you buy, or how much food you get in for Christmas dinner, and so on. It means we become more thoughtful in how we spend our money and how we build and support community. It is taking power into our own hands and away from the banksters and gangsters in the corporate world. It is the start of building a whole new world where profit isn’t the move, people are.