By Paul Williams
“Or does the land dance the dancer?” This was a question put to me by artful faith coordinator Christina Rowntree, in discussion of one of the exhibits in the ‘conceal reveal’ exhibition recently held at CTM. The question provokes a realm of possibilities about how nature leads us, leads me, to insight and creative expression, by speaking as if it’s a living person rather than an externalised prompt for reflection.
The ‘conceal reveal’ exhibition was the richly rewarding result of two years hard work by The VicTas Art and Spirituality Network. It featured an astonishing array of techniques, technologies, styles, perspectives and personalities, based around the living theme, ‘conceal reveal’. The exhibition was supported by other activities including all-age arts workshops.
Anne Mallaby, lecturer in pastoral studies at Whitley College and director of the Chapel on Station Gallery, remarked in her opening speech about the different meanings of the word ‘conceal’. It refers not only to that which is well-hidden, but also that which is just behind the veil, which we may ‘catch a glimpse of’, that which ‘beckons us into deeper relationship’.
This beckoning is not just something which occurs between people, but is about “the call of God into deeper relationship”, often involving the natural world as an essential third person in the beckoning conversation. Such a conversation may involve, for instance, meditating in the shallows of the ocean until the depth of our connection with it is revealed through tears on our cheek.
Two pieces which displayed the ‘conceal reveal’ theme particularly well for me, were Eleni Rivers’ Orchard of Delight, a gliceé print exploring the significance of seeds: “tiny things that live in the dark underground and then grow to be something extraordinary”; and a short film by an artist known simply as Fiz.
A meditation with movement on stillness and pinnacles is a short film about looking within to reveal movement or no movement at all, finding the movement in the apparent stillness of rock formations, in this case, the Pinnacles near Cervantes, WA.
It is about a journey into a physical awareness of the self, leading to an intuitive and creative relationship with environment that may end up looking and feeling like dancing worship.
Next time you’re visually absorbing a landscape like the Twelve Apostles, the Organ Pipes on Mount Wellington, or Cradle Mountain, remind yourself that it is moving, and ask ‘how would this land dance me?’
For further information about The VicTas Arts and Spirituality Network, contact Christina Rowntree Ph 03 9340 8813 or email firstname.lastname@example.org