i created this image with a canvas of sky images I created a while back and didn’t use, with a photo superimposed of a Tibouchina flower which grew in our garden in Bowraville, on the mid-north coast of Australia. Then I tweaked it a bit with the gizmos on BeFunkyl.
It’s a bit of a departure for me as usually I create an image and then wait for the title to emerge, but this time I felt the need to create an image for “Silence”. The word just kept ringing in my ears. Years ago I couldn’t bear to live in silence. As soon as I woke up I’d have local radio on with news and music. During the day I’d listen avidly to news broadcasts or I’d play music (pretty loud music, to be honest), and in the evenings I’d watch TV or videos (as it was in those pre-DVD days).
Now I very seldom have radio, TV or music on. I love the sound of silence. I am quite happy with a lack of noise. I enjoy sitting in my study with the door open, beside a big, open field, with the only sound occasional birdsong. I find inspiration because I’ve learned to be happy with my inner world. Mind you, I don’t mind playing music or watching TV when I feel like it, but it’s not a compulsion any more.
What amazed me when I was back in the UK in 2012 and 2013 is that silence is scarcely heard any more. People had their noses stuck in iPads or smart phones, social interaction between humans was the exception rather than the rule, and everywhere there was some sort of music, as if the sound of silence had to be drowned out (if that makes sense). And so often when you visited people, the TV was playing which was incredibly distracting.
I was thinking of this with Paul Simon’s song and how so much creativity must be going down the drain because people don’t listen to their inner voice any more, it’s drowned out by social media. You read that people are addicted to texting, have to check their e-mails constantly and sleep with their smartphones under their pillow. I’ll be very honest and say I’m glad I was in the generation before iPhones, iPads and other smart phones and tablets came into existence because I started creating art when I was in an isolated rural village and I may not have accessed my inner sacred self if I’d been drowned in social media.
So this piece of digital art celebrates the peace of silence and tuning in to our inner voices. I did, of course, include Paul Simon’s “The Sound of Silence” because there’s another aspect to silence: not speaking up in the face of injustice, wrongdoing, repression and the silencing of people’s voices. And I also included a lovely video of the Soweto Gospel Choir singing “Amazing Grace” because grace is ours when we listen to our inner voice of integrity, inspiration, courage and creativity.
And just to wind up, I was playing “The Sound of Silence” back in the days when I was working in London when my flatmate casually announced that she used to be a member of a folk club in Kent where Paul Simon would turn up and play when he was living in London. I absolutely gaped at her, how lucky was that, but she was amazingly laid back about his presence at the folk club, whereas I was deeply envious I’d missed such an experience!