Detail from ‘Hidden Light’ 2012.
Recently I met the Sherwood Sunrisers Rotary Club, a dedicated group of men and women who travel, (some for many miles) to meet at 7am each week. I have met another local group who have given some nominal support to the SEITCOD project I am managing, supporting schools in Dominica and locally. The Sherwood group I met through donating this piece ‘Hidden Light’ for them to auction as a fundraiser. Rotary is a massive organisation of local groups across the world. From the British Heart Foundation to local schools, to working against Polio, to well building, to supporting peace studies students with scholarships, to international skills exchanges, their collective global and local reach is quietly immense. This year’s motto seems to be ‘Peace through Service’ and I connect with the idea of practical actions towards peace and human development. I have been invited to give a speech.
I have a talk entitled ‘Creating Peace Together’ based on mine and others’ experiences of creativity used as a tool for peace. When conflict, inequity, injustice and insecurity have been long or complex many have lived only with it or cannot remember peace. How can you navigate towards something you have no reference point for? In a sense it must require imagination. Songs, art, stories have always played a part in expressing, healing, creating change, roaring for freedom and justice. The story allows hope. We believe in happy endings in stories when normalcy has become the opposite in life. Being able to hope is central to positive change. We can face monsters in the story without succumbing to fear. Simply making candles in collaboration with people from opposing communities and an exchange of each candle with someone from ‘the other side’ can mean a point of silent connection when their crafters return to their separate communities that may still be in conflict. Creativity can be a facilitation tool; a tool for communication, expression, reflection and envisioning something better. It can include voices normally unheard, images often unseen, hope unsung.
I have written poems of some of the inspiring stories shared with me. Others cannot be put into words and so I return again to the simple idea of light underlying everything we see, shadows and texture the mould and the prayer / hope of seeing hidden light.
Hidden Light is part of a series entitled ‘Aish’.