Symphony: Celebrating Spiritual Diversity in Art and Culture

This was an art exhibition organized by Alena Kennedy and Libby Bloxham from the Wollongong Subud Group. It ran during March at Project Contemporary Artspace in Wollongong City.

Symphony was held around Harmony Day and focused on the spiritual aspect of human experience, with an emphasis on ‘unity in diversity’. ‘Unity in diversity’ is a concept of “unity without uniformity and diversity without fragmentation”. It focuses on the idea that diversity enriches human interactions. “We are all the leaves of one tree…We are all the waves of one sea…” Thich Nhat Hanh.

Alena says: “art can talk to us about the artist’s innermost inspirations. Art can uplift, challenge or change our ideas and attitudes.  Libby and I wanted to provide a platform for artists to share their experiences and to honour the diverse ways that this can be expressed.”

The art exhibition included artworks by 22 artists and was accompanied by a weekend of performances and workshops. These included workshops in laughter, 3d construction with found materials, Argentinian drumming, Tai Chi, Interfaith chanting, Ekphrasis writing, crystal singing bowls and mosaic making. Performances included poetry reading, stilt dancing by Libby; classical guitar by Immanuel Creagh from the Subud Wollongong group; crystal singing bowls, Argentinian drumming, Singongo Choir and Kareeni Dance by children of SCARF (local refugees’ assistance group). The event was well supported by Wollongong Subud members and Viviana Creagh cooked a delicious international meal for the performance/workshop weekend. Valentina Temple, her daughter Bridie and Bridie’s friend were part of the exhibition group with a collection of photographs representing their studies of and feeling for nature in their home schooling program. Also exhibiting were Libby (sculptures) and Alena (painting).

SICA has been a continuing generous supporter, providing funding for the first exhibition insight (held at Wollongong’s Subud House in 2016), and for this year’s Symphony. These are part of an ongoing project called Insight Art Project. SICA is now funding the creation of an e-catalogue which records the Symphony event. Insight Art Project has the following aims:
– To provide opportunities to artists: visual and performing as well as writers to express that aspect of their life or awareness which reflects an inner or spiritual content. It also celebrates and acknowledges the diversity of ways in which we might understand and interpret our spirituality.
– To expose these events to a diverse audience and facilitate harmonious interactions in the community around creativity and spirituality.
– To create an interface between Subud and the general community, including various creative, spiritual, religious, welfare and community groups, in which Subud becomes known and familiar.

Libby and Alena are hoping to run a third exhibition in the Insight Art Project program in a couple of years’ time. They welcome applications for participation by artists in Subud Australia.