In the sacred space of the Baptistery visitors were slowly pacing around observing, taking pictures, sitting on the marble steps resting when suddenly a sound broke through the silence. A voice crystalline and pure rose up to the balcony where I was standing, magnified by the tremendous acoustic of the interior.
‘Please don’t stop!’ I found myself thinking glued to my spot as if under a spell.
The chant only lasted a minute, perhaps less than that (a staff member regularly demonstrates the building’s stunning acoustic by singing a few notes) but perhaps because it was totally unexpected it had a magical effect on everybody present. For me it was the moment that summoned up the profound experience of my recent visit in the Piazza dei Miracoli in Pisa.
Outside the Baptistery hundreds of people from many parts of the worlds, speaking a Babel of languages were moving around from building to building possibly also in search of a particular type of experience.
‘What are we all looking for?’ I asked myself suddenly aware that at that moment, all over the world in other churches or temples, in galleries, museums, theatres and concert halls, thousands of people were somehow engaging with Art.
At times when we stand in front of a particular painting, listen to a piece of music or a performance, suddenly something powerful stirs inside ourselves and ‘Ah!’ there is a moment of recognition, ‘This is me! I recognize myself in this.’ It is a powerful feeling when a certain artwork created by a particular artist in a moment in time ignites something deep, that nourishes our soul and fills it with awe.
Santa Maria della Spina, Pisa. Photo by Asha Joanna Zmuda
This is what Art, in my humble opinion, does. It connects Nature and Spirit transforming into an Aha! moment. A fleeting but powerful moment.
When those special responses are triggered, we may wish that one day we too will be able to paint a beautiful picture, play a piece of music or write a novel; the thing is we can! In each one of us there is a dormant being that is striving to open up and create. We can be both the observer and the maker thus completing that circle that makes us whole.
Just take a look at Nature as she goes about the business of creating, producing an astounding variety of forms, sounds and colours thus fulfilling her role. The thing we seem to forget is that we are also part of Nature and therefore we are meant to express ourselves in many forms, in turn fulfilling our role by participating in the rhapsody of creation.
In conclusion if you have a set of brushes buried somewhere, a musical instrument shut in a case or a play script at the bottom of a drawer, open them up and start playing now, on your own or, better still as part of a group, but don’t delay.
The time is today, the moment is now!
Photo by Asha Joanna Zmuda