Collective Art: an opportunity to transform society and yourself

Jan 14, 13 Collective Art: an opportunity to transform society and yourself

We are a People who believe in the power of human values, solidarity, respect and mutual acceptance. We believe in the great potential contained in each of us, and we encourage all forms of creativity and diversity expressed by every human being, which for us is considered a great wealth.

In Damanhur, we educate ourselves to use positive thinking and to exercise our talents, which is why work is intended as a prayer. Art and spirituality go hand in hand because even the work of every day, if carried out to the best of our abilities, is a spiritual and artistic achievement.

We are simple people, but full of confidence, and we believe in the goodness and in the beauty that we can build together.

In Damanhur, we don’t have a religion; we call ourselves a School of Life. We believe that every human being contains a divine spark that can be awakened. We think that at the origin of the separation into infinite manifestations of diverse forms there is a unique essence and divine matrix, the One who includes everything. We understand that different people over time have called the same essence, the same divine principle, with many different names, and we respect every other belief in the hope that all faiths can respect the beliefs of others.

We think of diversity as a valuable commodity, not as a source of separation between human beings. We believe that the struggle for the affirmation of the one’s own truth over the truth of others cannot continue to exist, and that the true path to the spiritual evolution of humanity can only come through the recognition of the truth of others as one facet of a single crystal.

We have work to doWe have represented our belief system inside our most precious and significant work of art, the “Temples of Humankind“, an underground cathedral that we secretly dug out of the mountain for almost 20 years and continue to build today. In the Temples, we have developed together what we call our “Art of the People”, this means art created by many hands – inexperienced artists – average people who had never before picked up a brush, who had never sculpted, or built a mosaic. In the beginning, no one was a professional artist before building these magnificent temples.

We all started to sculpt, build stained glass, mosaics and paintings by teaching ourselves, motivated by the desire to express the beauty that is within each of us – the spiritual values that unite us. Now that the Temples of Humankind have been revealed to the world, we are happy to share this place dedicated to spirituality and to the enhancement of life, of the elements that compose life itself, the different breeds and species of animals and plants, the different ecosystems, the beautiful and different lands that make up our precious planet.

The Temples of Humankind are a tribute to the human being who is understood to be the bearer of a divine spark that can be awakened in order to offer the best of ourselves to others, and to the world. This place is the practical and concrete manifestation of how a small group of people united by a common dream and spiritual aspiration, can achieve a great work that stretches beyond every kind of limitation.

Art and spirituality have always been deeply connected to our experience of community life, not only through the construction of temples, but also in everyday life. Art is the most powerful and meaningful tool that can be used to awaken what exists in every single individual, the talents hidden in each of us. The emotion, the intensity that every human being carries in his heart can touch the hearts of others through a poem, a smile, a dance step, music, a symphony of colors…

Art is the most direct and concrete tool to rise beyond the cultural conditioning that makes us think “I’m not able to do this, I will never be able to, it is impossible!”

This is one of the top reasons why art can become the preferred way for the spiritual growth of people, because it educates the recognition of our own ability. If the surrounding environment is able to accommodate and to encourage different individual expression without judgment, the enormous potential of creativity embodied in everyone finds the doors open, and this expression brings joy, nourishes love and provides mutual recognition.

painting freelyAt this point one wonders: what is the true function and value of art within a spiritual path?
Our answer is that the real great work, the most important and significant work of art that we can make and recognize is the one that every human being can extract from him/herself, as a result of his/her spiritual quest. The most beautiful picture, the best dancing, the sweetest singing is the one which rises from a happy heart. The best work of art that we can create as human beings is the awakening of our own awareness, of our divine and pure origin, which is expressed when we have confidence in ourselves and in others, when we change tomorrow with the strength of the ideals exchanged with our brothers, when we have the strength to leave a trail that others may collect and develop.

When we find the joy in our hearts and awareness, we can look at life with different eyes, to discover the spirit of life, the beauty of nature in all its forms.

This is the real power of art – it is a tool to transform ourselves, to touch the hearts of others through our own testimony.

How are you creating art in your life?

-Formica Coriandolo