I look at trees and see human bodies in enthralled prayer to the “Fashioner of Forms.” I study biology and am awed by the millions of years of evolution that have created human consciousness.
Every cell in my body is a marriage
Vows made billions of years ago.
I cannot know of cyanobacteria
And not be touched
My art explores my deep faith in Absolute Oneness. In “I Am Earth,” the luminescent background of the painting represents the “Ground of Being” – the Divine. The feminine body represents Earth, and her rich, dark soils. The Tibetan Buddhist motifs were scratched into the oil pastels to explore how the “Ground of Being” energy permeates and radiates through the physical, manifesting all things with great order and beauty.
The body is no longer whole, but dismembered. My wise and wide-awake sister saw this artwork and shared with me the tale of the “Handless Maiden.” In brief:
A father, in mindless intoxication with prospect of riches, makes a disastrous deal with the devil and must chop off his own daughter’s hands. The daughter, who willingly submitted to this mutilation to save her Father’s life, leaves his home, trusting in Spirit, and is guided to ultimately become the wife of a king and mother of a prince despite the devil’s efforts. Ultimately, she returns to nature… deep in a forest, as she reaches for her child who has fallen into water, she grows new hands.
Her suffering teaches us what is most precious. Her selfless efforts and tender, yet fierce love make her whole.
Bereft of hands, the Maiden is our precious Earth, our provider and mother, whom we mutilate in pursuit of her material wealth. The Handless Maiden is also the poor women of the world—who are mostly brown-skinned—already bearing the brunt of oppression and exploitation. The Handless Maiden can be any of us—female or male—if, despite our suffering, we fight for what is precious and priceless.
At this time of unprecedented ecological damage and vast social injustice, the luminescent patterns on the body of the Handless Maiden urge us to “re-member,” to reach towards wholeness.
Karryn Olson-Ramanujan, March 2011