Story of Plato's Cave

Nov. 12, 2015
Nov. 12, 2015
Nov. 26, 2014
Nov. 24, 2014
Nov. 23, 2014
Nov. 23, 2014
Nov. 22, 2014
Nov. 21, 2014
Nov. 21, 2014
About This Kool Project

My life’s purpose is to revive valuable philosophical stories by transforming them from written to visual form. 

Imagine European culture without classical paintings depicting scenes from mythical and religious texts.  Imagine Canada without First Nations paintings that pass along important stories from one generation to another. 

Stories, whether verbal or visual, are fundamental to cultural identity.

Yet there is a massive hole in our cultural tapestry. For centuries, philosophers have written significant works about what it means to be human, to be a good citizen, to be an ethical leader, to be a moral individual, and so on.  Yet many of these works are accessible only to those who spend their time dissecting academic treatise line by line, or those who learn from them. 

Yet these stories and concepts are more important today than ever. 

Truly. 

We are surrounded by more information than ever before.  We are inundated with technological beeps and squawks; we are drawn toward blue screen light, like a moth to flame.  We do not burn, but are left living but not alive, feeling empty and void.

We crave meaning, purpose, knowledge, inspiration, understanding, and connection. 

I consider it my life’s work to unite art and philosophy in a new way that will inspire and transform conversation, realization, and understanding about what it means to be human.

This project posting is about the process I used to develop my first Philosophical painting in October 2013. 

Nov. 12, 2015

I have written extensively about my trip to China, and I would like to include part of one entry here because it is a story about one man's reaction to my art.

"...I had no idea how the people of Guiyang would respond to my philosophical painting entitled 'Plato's Cave'.  I had an opportunity to find out...one much needed times for [a translator] was when a man, who had been looking at Plato's Cave, came over to me and started talking.  I tried to explain that I couldn't understand him, and attempted to show him the page in the catalogue, but he kept speaking in Chinese.  As he getured and spoke, I watched his right hand cover his heart.  His short, thick fingers looked cracked and worn, yet his eyes glistened with youth.  He was gesturing at the painting, and speaking so passionately that I asked Sipei to come over and help.

As you can see in the photo, I am listening to Seipei, who is telling me that the man says my painting reminds him of what it had been like for him as a young child.  In short, he said this painting affected his heart.  It reminded him of what it had felt like to be a minority and to feel stuck like the people in the cave.  He shared his thoughts, his story, and then asked me what I had intended.  Through Sipei, we connected deeply and quickly. 

One of his final statements to me was that paintings can connect us in ways we would otherwise have never known.  I keep my memory of this man with me.  Whenever I am feeling down about painting...I remember his reaction.  It causes me to smile, and paint on.

For those of you interested in reading more about my visit to Guiyang, China, please visit www.lalitahamill.com/news

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Hamill
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