I’m completely inferior when it comes to art. In fact I’m the furthest from a knowledgeable art critic that it is possible to get. But there is something about this particular Matisse that speaks to me. I see in it a picture of life and friendship, joy and love, movement and beauty. It is of a world that is good and in harmony.
I use this picture to inspire and speak to me of how I want the world to be in the face of the reality of how it often actually is. I sometimes wonder what would happen if we broadened the view beyond the dancers. Maybe we might notice then that there are other people hidden in the shadows. Maybe some people are wanting to join the circle but it excludes them. Perhaps the pace of the dance is so fast as to be too much for them. Maybe life’s blows have impacted them so that they are incapable of dancing anymore. How might I respond to this wider picture?
(And, if we’re honest, sometimes we find ourselves unable to join in the dance of life too. We look at those dancers and long for their joy and life and ease of movement.)
One of the strongest gifts we have as human beings is the gift of imagination: to see in our mind’s eye the world as we want it to be. In my mind’s eye I see a world in which no one is excluded because of status, or gender, or ethnicity, or opportunity, or money. I see a world where garment workers get paid a proper wage and don’t face the daily risk of fire and illegal working hours. I see a world in which thousands of people don’t have to rely on food banks in order to feed their families. I see in my mind’s eye, too, the natural world included in the dance of life, no longer used and abused, but nurtured and loved.
What do you see in your mind’s eye? When you look at this picture, who or what do you long to see included in the dance of life? I hope you’ll be inspired to imagine how you want the world to be, and may that then encourage you to look for ways in which you can play your part in bringing that vision a little closer to reality.