The sutranovum art gallery is now open for business with limited edition prints for sale.
I have the second piece following soon with an artist in Canada.
The focus of the gallery is on art that lifts the spirit.
The website is morphing each day but we decided to start with a landing page and the first part of the journey at that level.
Below is a reflection on why I created the gallery first.
When Bodi, Hana and Norman land on our earth they have been designed to invite us to contemplate the germ of an idea to look again at our planet with the eyes of impartiality and better humor.
In the Bible it says:
“And god said let there be light.”
First god spoke then came the light and the painting that the light revealed.
First comes the idea – the illumination – and then it gets expressed. The imprint then the outprint: The painting. The print. The etching. The movie. Your wooded world.
If you go back to earliest Neolithic times you find cave paintings. Now we have movies and endless storytelling apps and games.
Joseph Campbell said that by following your bliss you become a vital person.
Your bliss inevitably implies your gifts. And the quest to unearth them.
A goblin or dwarf, in mythology, represents that part of the psyche that digs for gold and places materialism above the light within us that is ignited when we live by our gifts. If you go after money you may also come to lose the money.
But if you are an artist you may follow your bliss. And there is an art to being and doing everything. Refinement is its sister.
“Art” means two things. Skill and/or the right placement of things.
I spent ten years in India studying yoga. I also ran and built different businesses. At the end of that time I went to Tibet on a trek, a pilgrimage really. I went to Mount Kailash.
In my late teens I became very interested in the work of Joseph Campbell. He studied the stories of the world. From the dawn of time. On every continent and in every habitat.
The Pygmy in the forests of the Congo have a different mythic imagination to the Canadian or the Andean farmer.
But he identified different phases of stories. Old myths often invoked animal powers.
Earlier in my life I had been captivated with Darwin and evolution. Then came yoga and the myths.
Then came this swim in a lake and this Tibetan mastiff puppy.
There met 4 things
- the evolutionary story as represented in our minds by “coming from monkeys,”
- the ecological wisdom,
- the mythological structure – developing a relationship with your inner nature in relation to the cosmos – the four functions of myth are listed below.
- a sense of awe and playfulness at the enlightened symbol of the holy mountain
(Which is one of 4 things in the focus of mythology-
- impart awe
- relate oneself to the cosmos – give one a map for it
- relate to the social order
- teach how to live – with virtue, the various stages of life…. )
So at that moment in Tibet I started a process of what Campbell called “invoking the animal powers”
I started to delve into the monkey symbol and the monkey mind and the loyal love of man’s best friend. We call our cute little children little monkeys.
And we label our relationship with the dog: man’s best friend.
It is wonderful to laugh. Deep laughter like drinking water after a long hike in the desert. I wanted the characters to bring laughter.
Then I set out to make a logo of an elegant monkey. I failed. Because monkeys are not elegant – they scratch their asses and do all kinds of none elegant things. They are doing it the way monkeys do.
If you give a challenge to all the animals to be a monkey – we may be able to imitate the monkey.
But only for the monkey is it natural and full of grace (movement without effort) to be a monkey. A monkey was funny and tragic and beautiful in the dawn mists. So there is the elegance, the ease of a monkey being quintessentially itself. Which begs the question: what do we amount to beyond the monkey mind?
The Greeks had three interesting words:
Diablos and symbolos
Diablos means being stuck in the literal – blocked from the imagination
Symbolos means a way of using language or art or matter to fashion doors to clarity.
The Greek word “psyche” (or “psychein”) means breathe or blow. In the Homeric Poems composed in the second half of the eighth century BC, the psyche was identified with the vital force linked to the individual body.
Psyche, (Greek: “Soul”) in classical mythology, princess of outstanding beauty who aroused Venus’ jealousy and Cupid’s love. The fullest version of the tale is that told by the 2nd-century-ad Latin author Apuleius in his Metamorphoses, Books IV–VI (The Golden Ass).
Psyche means the mind or soul. But, explicitly it means the capacity to infer meaning. To discern based on the nature of the being within.
And God said let there be light
An idea comes and is illuminating and illuminated.
So I had an idea based on a journey into my own psyche and the global mind and its cultures.
In my story the Earth plays the role of Wonderland. To Norman, Hana and Bodi – they see us as the madhatters and the white and red queens. We are the conundrum they must solve – like Alice.
Someone said to me on the journey: I don’t want to do monkey for the rest of my life.
And that comment spoke to something in me too. May you never outgrow humor.
The lotus came next. It took a lot of effort but it came from a logo I had for my company in India.
I wanted to embrace the story with the first insight of bodisutra being the comment scene where Bodi questions our name.
He says why?: Homo sapiens sapiens?
Did that mean (in contrast) earlier we had been Homo sapiens stupidus and Homo stupidus stupidus. The half wise – half stupid man and the fully stupid man.
He has a point. And Norman recognizes it. Norman suggests a better name for us may be Homo sapiens fabula.
The wise storytelling ape.
He is right. For our wisdom can only be measured by the kind of stories we learn from and the mind of stories we tell.
As a vehicle for other stories and I wanted a layer above storyland dedicated to the meta level, the yin and the yang,the light hearted, the tragic and the relevance of the fool.
And the contrast with the “meta” – the possibilities for new growth.
So it wasn’t just about monkeys. It was a window to stories – many different stories. Many powerful stories. But they got the wheel rolling.
And it was about a world upstairs above that – the meta – that was concerned with the application of such wisdom.
Man is a work in progress. We all are. Nature has volcanoes that destroy the environment. To make way for a new environment. Such things are there in the Earth. Natural forces.
A strong soil rich in bacteria can break anything down.
A healthy mind can probe reality and differentiate between what is creative and what is destructive.
It can break down what is corrosive to the soul and to the soul of the earth and the wider universe and multiverses.
The basic formulation of Norman was a wise elder.
An elder who could see beyond the destructive shadow: diablos through to the symbolos.
If you spend time in a garden, a garden that is well loved – it will teach you of the harmony of nature and the ingenuity and imagination of nature (of which we are a part).
Nothing is wasted. So the perspective of Norman is built around one simple belief, one simple idea:
That there are no problems in life.
Now you may say the world is full of problems. And you would be right.
But whatever exists is part of a whole.
And that whole is not wasteful. So someone who knows intrinsically there are no problems in life would be mindful that waste is not a feature of nature. Nothing is wasted. And when life is connected with, seen with the eyes of awe, it unravels a hidden symmetry.
Norman started out as being called Guru. But then a friend said:
“Just call him Norman. A normal man.”
I liked that – the sense it could be normal to see there were no problems in life. And a talking dog. To hear the conscience of a deeper nature speaking to us.
To see that a healed imagination would outgrow problematic thinking.
That was the crux of him – Norman – man’s best friend talking to him as an archetype that voiced the idea that there are no problem in life. How that idea could be planted germinate and refertilize the world:
To see that we have the know how, the tenacity and capacity to reform the world into an abundant and living Eden.
We can take one example of a problem in the world:
In the next few decades the continent that gave us life – sub-Saharan Africa – will balloon in population. We know how to accommodate that with a reversal of the wastelands of the Sahara. Not just accommodate but thrive in the land of the solution beyond the perception of the problem and its apparent dimensions.
Managing such an operation demands a mind that is very elastic and insightful that isn’t governed by separation or small mindedness.
That can read between Diablos and Symbolos.
Such a mind develops out of trust.
Trust that it is there. Buried in the depths of Psyche.
“Art” means two things. Skill and/or the right placement of things.
Art begins with an image in our minds. A symbolos:
Joseph Campbell spoke about how there came a time when the first creature could see itself in reflection. It gazed into a still pond and it saw itself. I am not speaking about what it looked for in its reflection.
I am speaking about that moment of awe when life first gazed back at itself.
How do we connect with that primordial sense?
Emerson wrote that not by chance does your eye take in the leaf and its beauty. Not by chance are you lead to certain people and places. Not by chance does one have a gift for music or math or art. But it is possible to overlook such things. Not entirely but to a great extent when we are not attentive to what matters.
Perhaps the biggest flaw in our culture is when we make the error of not heading our gifts.
We unconsciously fit in to a pattern that is not in alignment with the expression of our deepest gifts.
Then the world embraces problematic relationships and perspectives.
But when we head our gifts and have the right humility and gratitude for gifts of earth…we don’t fight. We align.
So we start with the gallery.
And a piece by my mother Gill Curry of an olive tree in the fields around Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. That is the region in the Western world where “amor” or romantic love entered the world. It was also a place lived for a period of his life as a painter. I have been there. It is a beautiful place. You can see how a great painter could paint sunflowers there.
“This tree from Syria, can live for more than a thousand years. The Greeks looked on the olive tree as a present from Pallas-Athene, founder of Athens.
For the Romans, the olive was the symbol of harmony and the Goddess of Peace was crowned with its wreaths.
The first olive trees were brought to France in the 11th century B.C. by the Phoenicians when Massalia- Marseilles was founded.
The Japanese lino print of the olive tree was completed after a visit to St Paul de Mausole, St Remy, Provence. Van Gogh lived here in the clinic within a monastery between 1889 and 1890. The clinic is surrounded by olive trees at the foot of Les Alpilles, a low mountain.”
There are 300 limited editions of each size. The print will remain for sale until sold out. It is a Giclée print. Born of a sight of beauty at the foot of a mountain. It’s a fitting inauguration piece for the beginning of this journey up a mountain of seeing differently.
The gallery is for fine art only.
It is dedicated to the spirit in man.
Hamlet, Shakespeare’s character was depressed when he wrote:
“What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world. The paragon of animals. And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me. No, nor woman neither,”
He is wealthy, young, healthy in awe of man and yet depressed.
My sense when I met that pup in Tibet, was as to find a character who adored nature and was adored by it.
After the gallery comes products born of sustainable thinking.
And this week I had conversations that focused on making sutranovum academy into a non profit for the advocacy of positive themes around the human imagination.
One of the people on the call had just invested in a company that is dedicated to AI – Artificial intelligence.
That company will be able to crunch data faster than ever before. Things will go faster. Especially our calculating capacity. That means we have the potential to move and create faster.
Some of my favorite charities are those that embrace holistic approaches.
- I love the work of Claudio Naranjo on the enneagram and his notion of the Triune society – his vision for life beyond the lumbering patriarchy. A balance of the wisdom of man, woman and child.
(Personal Relationship dynamics of the inner cosmos)
- And then men like Neville Goddard and Carl Jung who studied the psyche and the powers of our imagination within us carefully.
(Relationships of the shadow journey and the imagination)
- And I appreciate the ecological wisdom and insight into holistic context regarding management when it comes to the Savory Institute.
(Desire and achievement – the game of rightness – in the context of the whole)
- And when the industrial revolution came upon the United Kingdom, the RSA was set up to focus on how to educate and nurture our deepest culture.
(Educate mindful of the souls needs and apply that to the arts, business, management and commerce)
These four things seem to merge for me in the conception of what the non-profit is.
As we enter the AI age the reverence for vision and imagination and great enlightened stories becomes acutely important.
What will we do with the time robots grant us to dream more?
That is an important question.
And married with every impossible question it becomes vital and alive.
Impossible questions inhabit places where we are perhaps frightened or on the edge. We are on the edge of tomorrow every moment.
What we breathe into form the world we see each moment.
That is the meaning of psyche.
To breathe into, to blow into.
Projections make perceptions.
If you find yourself depressed or unfulfilled in anyway it demands troubleshooting.
Who wants to suffer? Who wants to be a victim of an unconscious mind? I don’t think anyone would say that they want that. But who is ready to be determined to not to be victim of the world they see? The test is how strong an affirmative comes to the latter question.
The people I am closest to are people who are really really interested in profound inquiries into what really matters. I find that is true because it is where I am inside. I am not interested in the superficial. I want to suck out all the marrow of life. It makes sense.
When I do suffer I look deeply into what made it happen? Was it some inter-generational healing that I have come to address in myself? I know such things are gifts when seen in the right light. Angels may not enter where fools fear to tread…but the fool takes us places where we the better angels of our nature are awakened. There lies the paradox. We can miss the lesson and be doomed to repeat it – we can become conscious of the unconscious forces at work and become masters of our destiny.
What really matters?
The only thing that really matters is healing and that comes from asking questions like:
Who I am?
And where am I stuck in illusions about myself?
And how to get free of them?
You go to the woods in yourself…like Thoreau:
“I went to the woods because I WISHED TO LIVE DELIBERATELY, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms…”
You go to the woods of a well-lived life to live deliberately….you want to make the best out of it, you want to be free and the only way to do that is to accept the truth about ones fundamental identity.
The charities/characters I have described in my paragraphs on charity are the kind of foci in my mind that the non profit should be devoted to.
An advocacy for such themes in today’s dialogue. This musing came out of my own process but also conversations with my friend Josiah Brandt of the schoolofi.org who shares that he feels we are in two hundred year march to a greater maturity of a species. Both of us recognize the value of the meta things that count here.
One of the most powerful things I have ever read is about the sense of spirit charity vs ego charity.
Ego charity gives to the poor of heart.
Spirit charity stems from the place that recognizes there are no poor at heart. That is it’s gift.
The latter is the art of the meta.
Welcome to sutranovum. An organization or body of organizations dedicated to a focus on a new sutra.
A sense of renewed meaning.
Dedicated to rethinking everything.
Because, we can.
The recognition of this capacity is the gift of hope. It is to be treasured. It is the land within we go to. And in its soils we sow the seeds of our love. Of our wisdom.
May they grow with wild abandon. With your ardent attention.
The idea is simple.
We may be all in the gutter, in the shit, but some of us are looking to the stars.
Fertilizer can be fuel for a lethal bomb or food for a new earth. It comes down to what is looking.
We just want to increase those among our ranks who have their focus on the stars and so honor the muck that gave birth to our physical evolution. Increase that have that kind of elegant buoyancy and balance with their inner nature. Those dedicated to swimming and enjoying swimming in the waters that we swim in as individuals, as family members, as friends, as countrymen and….as a species.
sutranovum is built around the premise that this is not only possible…., but inevitable.
As the first curator of the sutranovum gallery it is the sense of beauty, awe, possibility and dynamism that I seek to consecrate on the walls of this gallery.
Welcome to day one.
A day that began with the music of a sitar in a garden that honored the music of a dearly beloved dead friend. A man who adored the earth.
I will end with this poem by Christina Rossetti:
Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you plann’d:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.
Here’s to inaugurating happy memories in harmony with the angels of our better selves.
May all our labors consecrate and affirm such mindful heights within.
In the gardens of your mind.