A little while ago we attended an art exhibition by a group of artists exhibiting under the theme of “What We Need is Here”. Inspired by a poem by Wendell Berry (often associated with mindfulness practice or meditation), the artists focused on the theme of ‘the grace of sufficiency’. The artists (Hermien van der Merwe, Nelia Andrag, Eylene Clifford, Karen Yssel, Paula Dubois and Sarel Greyling) each interpreted the theme in their own way and in their own medium. And it was glorious.

Sarel has a unique way of ‘painting’ using plasticine. He mixes his own colours and applies the plasticine as if it were thick brushstrokes of oil paint. The results, mainlly portraits, are unique and creative and simply wonderful.

Eylene is a potter who works in porcelain and she explained that when she was challenged by a teacher to make sure her pottery tells her story (because it would still be around in a 1000 years time) she decided to engrave her pots with fynbos that is about to become extinct. The delicate flowers on her pots will no longer be around in the future. The work became all the more poignant when one thinks about the implication.

Paula Dubois had some truly magnificent ink and mixed media drawings that focused on fynbos and Hermien van der Merwe had a variety of paintings and etchings, but we loved an oil painting entitled “Fog on the Mountain” which transports you instantly to the mountains around Cape Town.

The evening was fabulous and it was great to listen to the artists talking about their inspiration behind their art. And in each case, there is firstly awareness, and then appreciation of sufficiency.

Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.

Wendell Berry