A friend of mine bought this fascinating painting by Brazilian artist Lena Hali in a Sunday Market in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The painting is of a Native American woman. I am no sophisticated art critic and cannot tell you about the use of shadow or hue. What I can tell you is that this painting moved me considerably. My eyes landed on it and it stirred my soul, swirling it, mixing my emotions so that I didn’t know how I felt because I was feeling everything at once. The painting is beautiful and its beauty gave me joy. The woman’s face drew me in. I saw humility and a hint of sadness in her face that made me want to reach out to her. I connected with her as if she were there in the room with me, in the flesh.
That’s what art is about. We gloss over reality as we move through our lives, but art has the power to make us live and feel not only what is placed before is on canvas (or in stone or paper, glass, whatever the medium) but it brings us to a point where the line between our reality and the art before us becomes blurred. In the words of Doctorow, “good writing [and I think all good art] is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader; not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.” I’ve encountered art from time to time that makes me feel like the art and my reality are somehow related, blurred together such that there is no clear distinction. I really “feel” it. Lena Hali achieved that with this piece. There’s no saying when you’re going to be moved and by what, but for me, now this painting brings the rain. I am right there with the woman in the painting each time I look at it, I become her and the lines are blurred. When art can blur the lines of reality, that is when it is truly “good.”
(Photo by Kelene Blake)