The Mara speaks to those who listen. It provides answers for those who search and liberates those fettered by the mundane. Each day spent in this glorious sanctum is one filled with gratitude, for this is a place unlike any other. From the bubbling river and the early morning bird calls to leaves that swish in the gentle afternoon breeze, nature comes together like an orchestra that plays in perfect synchrony. The Mara is sustenance for the soul.
Some of the greatest visionaries, artists and philosophers of all time have uncovered their truth by immersing themselves in the wild. The Mara is a sanctuary that silences the noise of everyday life and connects you to the ether, and beyond. Here, you can observe the grand architecture of Being, where every single organism plays their part in ensuring the proliferation of life, even in death. In this enchanted land, the soul becomes truly perceptible, acting as a compass to guide with clarity and perspective.
I was fortunate to first venture into the Mara when I was just four. That was the moment it all clicked and an everlasting bond was formed between this wilderness and I. From the mighty fig trees with roots that stretch into the depths of the earth to the seemingly endless golden plains, there is an abundance of awe-inspiring beauty to be found here all year round. Stories are unfolding every day, and sharing these with the world is what drives my passion for the art of photography.
Each encounter carries a wealth of learning, every animal embodying their own unique values. The motherly cheetah who strives to provide for and protect her delicate cubs teaches us about love and determination, while the plight of the nomadic male lion narrates a story of fortitude, growth, and multifaceted transformation. Moments spent with these creatures can trigger an array of feelings and reveal many parallels to our own human existence.
As artists, it is our calling to try and capture the essence of life in its totality, to make sense of it and portray what it means on a deeper, more esoteric level. This is never straightforward. It is an undertaking that involves the entire self—our emotions, our minds, our personalities, and our vision. It takes time and dedication to depict a scene without stripping it of its innate richness, but this is a worthy pursuit. Art is a means of honouring both the beauty we can and cannot see; it rejoices in something beyond itself or even the artist who made it.
“The nature of the masterpieces is not to dazzle. Their nature is to persuade, to convince, to enter into us through our pores.” – Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingre
To create art that reflects true complexity and that speaks to the soul is something that I aspire to do; images entwined with the invisible threads of a story that symbolise the wisdom permeating through the universe; pieces that deliver lessons lightly but that can transport the viewer into deep contemplation. Striving to achieve this is both a challenge and a responsibility, but it is the only way to ensure we create meaningfully and not just for the sake of creating.
“Only art penetrates what pride, passion, intelligence and habit erect on all sides—the seeming realities of this world,” Pulitzer-winning author, Saul Bellow remarked. “There is another reality, the genuine one, which we lose sight of. This other reality is always sending us hints, which without art, we can’t receive.”
Purposeful art forms the basis for the stories that we tell, reinforcing the very foundations on which our cultures depend. It has a language of its own and stirs up emotion in all those who encounter it, regardless of where they come from. True art is more than meets the eye—it is transcendental.
Photo credits: Eric Averdung