Testimonial and Art by Lisa Hawkins

MA Myth, Cosmology and the Sacred student 2014-2017

I have always been interested in the spiritual, the intangible element of life. I remember as a child asking questions of materiality, did it really exist – or was it just in my mind? Having lost my father and grandparents in my very early years, I felt the dead lived alongside us, but I never spoke of these things.

Those thoughts are probably my earliest memories.

I have also always wanted to be an artist.

Both elements were quashed by circumstances for some time until I completed an Art Degree and MA at the age of 40. The consequence of such a late awakening to what I now think of as a vocation somehow meant that my material world began to fall apart but I felt lit from within, guided. I couldn’t and didn’t want to explain it.

The spiritual in art was naturally where my tendencies lay. Inspired by what my senses apprehended I searched within and explored modernism, symbolism and abstraction. A spark had been lit and I wanted to go deeper, and although there was a lot of “new age” literature to be found it seemed shallow and missed the mark. I explored conventional religion, Daoism, yoga, paganism and more but I could not find a direction. The MA in Myth Cosmology and the Sacred was a natural progression. Here, I had access to the most profound thinkers and philosophers, and within academic boundaries we considered anthropology, magic, music, mythology, psychology, art, religion and ghostly encounters. Nothing was off bounds.

My own painting stopped for a while, life changed dramatically, and chaos ensued whilst I studied, but eventually it all fell into place and I started working again. This time with an understanding of why I was painting.

I am not an academic, I struggled with the writing, but it changed my life and my light has returned. My paintings are filled with joy, or sorrow, or just “something intangible”.

The depth of knowledge and serious academic investigation from the tutors was inspiring, and meeting them was a joy, if also daunting. I read material that is life changing, and I grew to begin to reach for a higher perspective. It is a never-ending path, one that cannot be completed and at each new realisation life gets richer. It is a bit like going to therapy, in that sometimes the realisations come years later, they come when they come. You cannot force understanding. And you cannot teach it to those who cannot yet hear.

This understanding makes you encounter life with more than a touch of humour, and to begin to learn from all circumstances. Everyone is doing the best they can, with the resources they have been given.

This is my story. From a dyslexic painter, who speaks in images – and not so much with words.

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