The Rama Exhibition

Why Paint with an Elephant? The Artist’s Point of View

Calley O'Neill, at the Oregon Zoo, Painting with RamaSpontaneously witnessing Rama paint at the Oregon Zoo for the first time (2006) was mind-boggling.  It was so unexpected! Rama was so obviously engrossed in painting with Jeb, the keeper that taught him to paint.  My son and I were completely captivated, so much so, that witnessing Rama painting one 4 color abstract changed the course of my life.  His spray-painting was beyond imagining, and then ~ he brushed over the flowing background that was equally as astonishing.  The resulting mixing of reds, yellows and blues with a calligraphic overlay of turquoise brush strokes was so beautiful.  This elephant was speaking through art, and this really spoke to me.  It was a weird, wild, clear communication.  From the depths of potential of the great mystery of life, Rama beckoned my heart.

        Instantly, in a full physical knowing, I sensed the potential impact of taking Rama’s work out into to the world. It was a creative quantum leap.  Rama was so good and so delightful, everyone deserved to be moved by him, and we could offer our collaboration for a mighty purpose, to shake up complacency and stir up action for endangered species.  I offered a presentation about the international exhibition that we could create together – which stunned me, hearing it for the first time!  The vision made no practical sense at all, as I live 2,500 miles from Portland, but it was a directive from from Grace, and I had to follow it. This is beyond anything I could have ever imagined… way beyond.

        I have one reason and one reason alone to paint with Rama … to make a difference in the world through art, and assist Rama’s life in having even greater meaning.  The fun, creativity and the honor of working with him are benefits, not the raison d’etre.  An elephant brings immense weight and impact, illuminating the urgency to defend endangered species.  It’s time for art to become a powerful, positive catalyst for change, and what better power to bring to it than that of a highly intelligent, sensitive, aware endangered species animal who paints.    

May Rama’s work move energy in a big way on behalf of all life.

This entry was published on May 18, 2012 at 8:02 am. It’s filed under Building The Rama Exhibition and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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