Thursday, January 28, 2021

Indian spiritualist Sri Chinmoy inspires art for peace at Ellenbrook WA

Check out the kids’ artworks based on Sri Chinmoy’s signature bird paintings at Ellenbrook Central Shopping Centre, WA

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Ellenbrook is being inundated with peace with art displays at Ellenbrook Central and Ellenbrook Arts. 

The art consists of abstract works by Indian artist Sri Chinmoy and local art by school children from Riverlands Montessori who were also inspired to join the artistic project dedicated to peace. 

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The opening ceremony for the gallery was held on June 21, one of the first in the state as galleries begin to awaken from an enforced slumber. The screen exhibit in the busy shopping centre nearby was an added bonus, organised when galleries didn’t look like being reopened. All the framed original pieces carry the artists signature birds which Sri Chinmoy viewed as messengers of peace and freedom. “The uncaged bird,” he poetically said, “is crying for freedom. The uncaged bird is striving for peace.” So impactful has the message been from the art it has drawn comments from Nobel Peace Laureates Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela and Mikhail Gorbachev. 

At the opening there was live music, food from the local women’s social enterprise group the Sister Project and a great energy in the gallery. Ellenbrook Arts Executive Director Gemma Ben-Ary said, “Art is one of our main ways of expression. Images are part of our story telling and it has importantly been missing for the last few months. This exhibition looks at the idea of peace, something that the world has considered for a long time and it still needs to be considered as a message today.” 

Member for Swan Hills Jessica Shaw helped open the event and shared her views on peace. “We have all had very isolated lives lately,” she said. “For me this is one of the first community events as we emerge and it is an important step… art can communicate to us all without words. It’s a universal form of language, it can help teach us to look inside and reflect and it’s also a shared experience. Art can definitely be a key part of peace. It’s a way we can all unify around shared principles.”

The contributions from local primary children was welcomed.

“Peace is not just an absence of war,” said Prabuddha Nicol who helped organise the exhibition. “It is more of a presence. Often for children this might mean being happy, joyful, more self-giving and just inspirational, and the art of the children here definitely has this message.” 

“The City of Swan is a great example of oneness, people from all walks of life, cultures and backgrounds coming together to live in this special area. It is a perfect place to have an exhibition that promotes peace,” said Prabuddha Nicol.

The art is on display at Ellenbrook Arts until July 17.

Sri Chinmoy (1931-2007) taught meditation in the West. Starting from New York, where he moved in 1964, his philosophy attracted 7000 students in some 60 countries around the world.

READ ALSO: When Sri Chinmoy spoke at Perth’s St Georges Cathedral in 1976

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