MOFSA’s 2023 Special Grants

Giulia Loli

My art is about being a witness to the witness. And it is reassuring to know that there are witnesses (Bob and friends) to the witness (artist) to the witnesses (Ancient Indigenous Africans). So much of the source of Inspiration feeding the artistic mission has to do with living with the Indigenous Garden Keepers, the Maasai. They are holding the keys of Ancient Wisdom, our still-alive Ancestors, as we all collectively cross this threshold into the so-called ‘Age of Aquarius’. In following the magnetic pull of the Great Spirit, I am grateful to still be here and continue to build this bridge between Egypt and Tanzania via the Nile River (the River which begins in Tanzania’s Lake Victoria…my mother’s name —and ends in Egypt), cross-pollinating back into Europe and America et al. This gift happens to coincide with the gift of discovering my roots deep in Tanzania, with the greater purpose of Ancestral Healing and the most beautiful Hymn of All Creatures Praising the Creator…

Lisa Penson

I would describe my painting practice as process-led intuitive abstract painting. Choices relating to colour, composition and theme are not pre-planned; they emerge as the painting transforms across time. For me, this spontaneous, organic way of working is the most exciting part of the process. Although I try to ‘control’ as little as possible, as I near the end of a painting, I introduce a ‘framing’ technique to demarcate points of interest that have arisen through the placement of multiple, contrasting layers. Ultimately, I seek balance between opposing visual elements such as control and expression, expanses of colour and black brush marks, hard edges and watery washes that correspond to the harmonisation of universal principles such as masculine/feminine, dark/light and yin/yang. In 2017 I had what can only be described as a ‘spontaneous spiritual activation’ which has sent me on a journey towards finding my ‘true self’ and an exploration of this through my arts practice. I am investigating how I can integrate specific spiritual practices (sadhana) such as contemplation, meditation, mindfulness, ‘emptying’, presence, non-attachment and egoless practice into my art practice.

Susannah Ravenswing

I follow the spiritual traditions of my pre-conversion Northern European ancestors, and find great joy in using my artistic talents in creating devotional art for my faith. The generous grant MOFSA made available to me this year has helped in the acquisition of tools and materials for the undertaking of two very different projects. The first, an altar hanging depicting the story of the wolves Hati and Skoll chasing the Sun and Moon across the heavens, was rendered through appliqué  and embroidery in linen and cotton and now hangs behind the main altar at TwoTrees Sanctuary in Stokes County, North Carolina. The second project, still in progress, is the carving of a large cedar votive pole honoring the Norse God Odin. Historically, such votive images marked community worship