“Painting is the song of the heart”

Photo above: Hands at the “Cuevas de las Manos” in Santa Cruz Province, Argentina (Photo by Pablo Gimenez/WikimediaCommons)

By Jacquie Boughner

In the video on the L’Arche Canada Art Exhibition site, Jean Vanier says “Remember that painting is the song of the heart. What is important is that we contemplate and give thanks for the hearts of these men and women who have beautiful gifts. As we welcome the gift, we are welcoming those people who have done them.”

Jean VanierMessage from Jean Vanier

Like Jean’s personal discovery of the wisdom in these beautiful gifts, we are invited into an exhibition that engages us immediately with spontaneous creativity. This artwork offers us the gift of living in the moment. It embodies the innate human desire to create a personal, physical mark which holds our fragile identity in the strength of an intentional creative gesture. We all want to be known, to have our existence made visible. It’s the same inherent impulse found in early human handprints in the Lascaux caves or the recent AI digital images sold at an international auction.

What makes this art so easily approachable and appealing? This can be a confusing intellectual dilemma, “Why do I have such a strong attraction and personal connection to these seemingly uncomplicated artworks?”

This exhibition invites us to explore other ways of knowing, seeing the world, and expressing what it means to be human.

These are mature works with deeply felt intuition and life experiences, often expressed with sophisticated design and colour choices. It is an intuitive way of knowing about the potential and promise of creativity in being human, and in our own access to that gift. This is a wisdom that simultaneously confounds the head and affirms the heart, producing a sense of well-being, of freedom and liberation within us.

Sans titrePainting: Sans titre, by Céline Pépin of L’Arche Mauricie

We see and feel in this art a brilliant flash, the spark of creativity, which speaks directly to our heart and body. We experience the sensation and emotion of it being life-giving and nourishing to our spirit. Art is completed in the viewer. In this reciprocal, creative interaction is an act of relationship that by its very nature is one of hope and trust in the future.

In our response to this artwork, we are confirmed in the gift of our own life and talents by the insights and generosity of these artists.

Jacquie Boughner

Jacquie Boughner has been involved with L'Arche for 25 years as a friend and board member of L'Arche Daybreak and the L'Arche International Stewardship Board. She is a professional artist who has done curatorial work for public and private galleries, including several L'Arche art shows and on-line exhibitions.

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