Mantra Art Workshop at Ditton Park Academy, UK

What a delight visiting Ditton Park Academy, a mixed, mainstream secondary school located in Slough, Berkshire. The workshop was aimed at sixth form students taking Art for their ‘A’ levels. The students had a chance to flip through my book first – Mantra Art: The Journey Within, released Oct 16 – and note down any questions. They were curious about the mantra, the medium, the textures and colour choices. They wanted to know how much the time it took to make one painting and how one can find the love and dedication to create such art pieces.

Their questions were truly impressive and showed their own intentions to become artists. When invited to write their own chosen mantra into an image that they either drew themselves first or pick from a ready-made Juss Kaur art piece, they were quick to pick up the technique and found the art and style ‘soothing and relaxing’. In addition they found the flow and texture of the paintings very appealing. When asked the question, ‘what inspires you to do art’, they were quick to point out their feelings about art. They said that they liked the freedom and ability to express themselves, to transform images and make them their own. One of the reasons the students mentioned about what inspired them to want to art is also very close to my own heart. It was about seeing the varied reactions of the viewers.

I, too, see the Divine most clearly not in the works themselves, but in the budding curiosity and unfurling excitement of the viewers. I see the sacred in their reception of the embodied feelings. Art gives us the space for attention, thus making it look like a prayer. Art gives us the much-needed space to notice each other and our own souls – so we can hear the still small voice. Van Gogh, Kandinsky, Mondrian, Rothko all have given the world paintings that inspire near-universal adoration, and all have expressed, through both pigment and the written word, spiritual motivations for their art.

Heartfelt thanks to the organizers, Parmjit, Mrs. Dawson and Pam Brar for putting this event together, and to the remarkably talented art students for hosting me. Loved meeting you all! Wish you success in all your aspirations. ??