“Say who you are, really say it in your life and in your work. Tell someone out there who is lost, someone not yet born, someone who won’t be born for 500 years.
Your writing will be a record of your time. It can’t help but be that. But more importantly, if you’re honest about who you are, you’ll help that person be less lonely in their world because that person will recognize him or herself in you and that will give them hope.”
Charlie Kaufman, screenwriter, “Screenwriters’ Lecture: Speech for BAFTA, 30 September 2011.
Award-winning artist Jacqueline Hill has gone viral on the web due to her recent mural installations. A science graduate with a background in mathematics, she has an honors degree in Computer Science. She worked as a consultant in her first career. She started doing craft projects and painting on weekends as a way to unwind and use the creative part of her brain, and eventually decided to throw herself into her art business full-time.
Jacqueline utilized her artistic mastery in recreating the Alhambra Palaces in Granada, Spain. The palace housed the Andalusian Sultan of Grenada in 1333, Yusif I, who was the last Muslim Sultan to live there. Alhambra spans a long history of conquering factions and displays many soaring arches, intricate carvings, and beautiful tiles. In 2018 the artist recreated a piece of the palaces as a huge mural spanning 10 meters long and 3.5 meters tall.
Jacqueline’s murals are created in a style called Trompe-l’oeil which in French means ‘deceive the eye.’ Her deep knowledge of mathematical concepts helped her in producing murals that are stunning pieces of craftsmanship that produce super-realistic work you could almost touch with your own hands.
Jacqueline Hill’s original artwork found in her Art at Heart Gallery and Studio comes in a variety of styles using oil, watercolor, acrylic, charcoal, pastel or pencil.
A country whose food recipes span over a longer timespan than the history of some modern nations, Japan is one place where traditional heritage and modernity exist side by side in everyday life. Japanese culture is well known for its food, polite and hardworking people, as well as its beautiful blend between the old and the new.
For those who are lucky enough to visit the country, Japan’s shrines and temples offer a glimpse into the country’s unique history and modern traditions. Japan is riddled with literally thousands of temples and shrines; some are very famous touristic destinations where visitors flock to in thousands each year, especially during festival times.
But what exactly is the Difference between Japanese Shrines and temples?
The main difference between the two structures is that shrines are Shinto, and temples are Buddhist, which are the two main religions in Japan. The Shinto religion was founded around 500 B.C; its primary tenant is the Japanese devotion to invisible spiritual beings and powers called kami and to various rituals. Kami could be ancestral spirits; gods that are associated with natural elements, such as mountains, seas, lakes; or gods with specific attributes such as the Japanese god of war Hachiman, or the god of death Shinigami.
A Shinto shrine gate is called torii; and while they have 15 different styles, they are all commonly made from wood, and look much simpler than Buddhist temple gates, which are called Sanmon. For Buddhist temples, gates usually have three entrances. Each gate is thought to represent an aspect of Buddhist training needed to achieve enlightenment: emptiness (mu; 空), formlessness (muso; 無相), no-action (musaku; 無作).
For today, I wanted to visit the Yasui Konpira-gu Shrine.
Most of us have one or two things we are unhappy about in our lives. Did you ever look back at a period in your life, where you felt overwhelmed by complicated and harmful relationships, health issues, career mishaps, etc. etc. and many other problems that drain your energy on a daily basis.
Sometimes you feel the need for a fresh start, away from all the melodrama, the sadness, and pain you experience in life. At that moment, when you say “enough is enough” to your past mishaps, and strive to find a new way of telling your life story, the universe might just send you a signal for what exactly you need to do. Or, you can get a signal for how to start.
For me, the realization of the need for a fresh start came in the form of inspiration from Japan.
But wait, what does Japanese culture have to do with breakups and new beginnings?!
Remember the Kami I mentioned above? They are believed to reside in shrines. However, since shrines house different kami’s, each one is frequented for a different reason; you could visit one shrine to ask for good luck in your business, another one to bless your love life, and a third one to pray for good health and vitality.
Tucked away in the Gion geisha and entertainment district of downtown Kyoto, Yasui Konpira-gu is a small Shrine off the beaten track where women flock to pray for breaking off bad relationships and initiating good ones. Also, the shrine enables visitors to pray for ending disease, bad habits, and harmful associations.
A ritual is performed where the visitor crawls through a hole in a large stone, known as the enkiri (separation) or enmusubi (marriage) stone. Afterward wishes written on a white, paper amulet, called katashiro, is pinned on the stone along with the thousands of others covering it. Older charms are removed and burned over time.
So while you might not be able to go all the way to Japan to visit such a temple, its story renders inspiration for the need to cut ties with harmful associations holding you back from fulfilling your highest potential. Whether you choose to take immediate action to change your life or pray your way out of it in a method unique to your particular faith, let’s take a page out of Japanese culture and let go of bad things.
Japanese candy making technique (amezaiku) where you get to eat small sculptured pieces of art. To make this delectable treat, candy artists take the melted mizuame and quickly shapes it using their hands and some simple tools, such as scissors and tweezers.
Church of the Transfiguration (Kizhi Island, Russia)
While this Church does not have the typical look and feel of a Russian Eastern Orthodox Church, its unique wooden structure and many roofs and bulbs give it an attractive look that makes it an exceptional building. Constructed in the 18th Century, it is one of three UNESCO World Heritage Sites on the Kizhi Island.
When it comes to the word Saudade, there are plenty of things that come in mind. The 1974’s Moacir Santos album, the 2011’s Japanese movie, the 1994’s song by Chris Rea, or the 2014’s Thievery Corporation album and many more. But what about this word or expression that led these artists, musicians, and director to make so many projects named after it?
Being nostalgic for a time that you didn’t experience can be defined by cascading reminiscence bump, a phenomena when people not only resonate to the events from their own youth but the events from their grandparents and parents youth as well but as a form of musical memory. But Saudade is somewhat quite opposite of cascading reminiscence bump or reminiscence bump in general. It is the longing for a time that someone once experienced and loved fondly but know that they might never experience it again. It’s…
The Mexican nation has a vibrant and rich culture influenced by the many civilizations which merged into modern Mexico; from the Aztecs and Mayans to the French and Spanish. Their history is very long and fascinating it actually took me three weeks of research to settle on an angle for this article, and no I didn’t land on just one.
The 6th of October bridge was almost deserted, which was perfect. I was on my way to Zamalek, to attend the 3rd Edition of Torath – Youm Fi Masr Festival in the Fish Garden – or El Gablaya for short. This neighborhood always has a positive impact on my spirits, as I found myself completely uplifted by the neighborhood’s iconic greenery, beautiful historic buildings, and the chill winter air.
If you take a walk with me, we will go to Old Cairo today. Driving through the ancient roads, we would pass Amr Ibn El Ass Mosque, and find ourselves standing next to the Hanging Church and the Coptic Museum. Those iconic sites are not our stop for the day. Today, we will be visiting Souq El Fustat, an Arts and Crafts Center with 35 permanent galleries and many booth stalls set-up for the day. Today is the date of the Festival For Arts & Crafts which is why we are here today.