David Jones, artist and poet (1895-1974) begins his PREFACE TO THE ANATHEMATA :

'I have made a heap of all that I could find.' (1) So wrote Nennius, or whoever composed the introductory matter to Historia Brittonum. He speaks of an 'inward wound' which was caused by the fear that certain things dear to him 'should be like smoke dissipated'. Further, he says, 'not trusting my own learning, which is none at all, but partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymous, Prosper, Eusebius and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons although our enemies . . . I have lispingly put together this . . . about past transactions, that [this material] might not be trodden under foot'. (2)

(1) The actual words are coacervavi omne quod inveni, and occur in Prologue 2 to the Historia.
(2) Quoted from the translation of Prologue 1. See The Works of Gildas and Nennius, J.A.Giles, London 1841.

20 February 2017

Sisters of the Word

Two artist nuns of our interest, Otagaki Rengetsu
(1791-1875) and Corita Kent (1918-1986).

Both have had exhibitions of their artwork in Melbourne over the past decade : Rengetsu at the RMIT University Gallery in 2008, Black Robe, White Mist: Art of the Japanese Buddhist nun Rengetsu and Corita Kent in Sister Corita's Summer of Love 
currently (until 26 March) at The Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne University.

Portrait of Rengetsu, age 81, by Ueda Kokei

The chosen name Otagaki Rengetsu translates as Lotus Moon. The enlightenment progress of the beholder of the sake cup below 
(upturned) begins at the lotus roots in the mud and the darkness beneath the cup. From there upward, divided, the stems reach through the realm of words and other symbols to the surface of the light-beckoning water : beyond to the full open enso moon, enlightenment.

In the beginning, there was no set price for her pottery. People gave what they could. One day, a wealthy customer left quite a tidy sum of money in a payment envelope. (In Japan, money is presented in an envelope to be opened later.) When Rengetsu discovered how much he paid her, she became perturbed. If regular customers found out that Rengetsu’s pottery was valued at such a high price, they would feel compelled to offer more money so that they would not look cheap, the market price would rise, and her work would be less affordable. Thereafter, Rengetsu established a fixed price for her wares, the same cost for everyone.

- from The Rengetsu Circle

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

I’m a printmaker... a very democratic form, since it enables me to produce a quantity of original art for those who cannot afford to purchase high-priced art.
- Corita Kent

Corita Kent, F is for food, 1964

Corita Kent, Phil and Dan , 1969 (brothers Philip and Daniel Berrigan were Catholic priests and anti-war activists)
Corita Kent, commission - ellsberg poster, 1972 (Daniel Ellsberg was the compiler of The Pentagon Papers - cf. Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning)

Sister Corita Kent examines a screen
Theatre of the Actors of Regard 
A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
someone looks at something...