On the past or thanks for this blog Emmanuel Jal

30 12 2012

I have been at home (in Slovakia) these days and several times I’ve encountered various situations all with the same denominator. Past! And you know, I can tell you, I am a bit bothered by the way we treat our past. We treat it as something sacred and determinable.

I have heard many times that it is good to know the history to learn and avoid mistakes and I take it. Definitely. But if it starts generating fear and worries and what is worse if it preventively generates protective behavior that often leads to harming others or oneself – then knowing the past is not useful whatsoever.

We, human beings, like to cling on past. It’s our safety net. It’s something that often justifies our actions. It’s something we build our identity on that in turn leads either to shame or pride. And for that I lack understanding. Why to be ashamed for someone or because of someone who was born in the same area as I just 1000 years ago and happened to take a very bad decision. I have nothing to do with that dude. As I do not have anything to do with another dude who invented something spectacular and was born just 100 km from the place my parents happened to settle down and start their family.  

This blog is initiated by a FB status update of Emmanuel Jal, an artist, human rights activist and former child soldier. I have seen his performance at TED and he got my attention right away. A smart guy spreading a very nice message through art of music.

His FB status says following: 

“The worst thing that happen to Africa its, not Colonialism ,slavery ,resources being looted or Genocides but the stolen history. They Said King TuT DNA is European, But the same DNA is in Africa too.. It could be true , since egypt was invaded by different kingdoms..what about king Targah is his DNA European too ? for people to gain confident to move forward history is important”


And I ask: What does it matter? What does it matter that a king was African, that Napoleon was French, that Nelson Mandela comes from South Africa or Mother Theresa was Albanian (some would argue here). Why do we have such a huge need to “own” those guys? Their actions mattered and have consequences even today but their origin could not matter less.

I was born in Slovakia but I do not feel like Slovak. I do not know how it feels like. Some could argue that I should thank Slovakia for who I am. For the education I got, for the possibilities I had in life. But I do not thank Slovakia because not everyone born in Slovakia had the same chances as I had thus it has nothing to do with the state. I am thankful to the people who were and have been in my life and formed it, gave me chances and trusted me.

The sport successes of Slovak athletes do not make me a better person. The Nobel peace price of the EU does not automatically turn all the EU citizens into dove of peace either.

If we do not stick to our national/continental/racial etc identities, it’s less probable that we will feel hurt if someone “attacks” them or tries to take parts of them away. 

So I ask. And what? What does it change in our life to learn that Tutankhamun was European? To me it means nothing. And my day won’t get brighter tomorrow because of that. 

What would happen if someone told me that Milan Rastislav Stefanik (you pick a name of a “significant” personality and replace it) was Polish? Or that Bono has slovak blood circulating in his body. You get my point right?

To know the history to understand how something has developed is great but if we find out that the history we learnt is different, it is OK because it won’t change the present moment anyway. It’s ourselves who can change the present. We often don’t, because we like “It’s always been like that” even when we are not happy with that. It’s often safer to struggle through a day knowing what will happen than start anew clueless about the next hour. But I think that we create our new past every single new second of our lives, which means, we can form it and change it and we can break free from the past that hunts us or that makes us going through the life on an autopilot. That way we do not need to feed our egos with the past of others. We can walk free from that and build our identity on our own actions instead. Our own actions that we know we can live in peace with.




Back to photography

7 10 2012

Today is the second day of my photo course and I have just finished my homework, which was to take a portrait or self-portrait picture. When I came home yesterday it was already dark so I decided to wait for the day light and take some pics this morning instead. And as the only person around this morning is me, I had to take a picture of myself. And a result:

Elizabeth Gilbert – quotes from Eat, Pray, Love_part I

21 07 2012

When reading the book, besides the content, I am enjoying Elizabeth Gilbert’s playful descriptive approach when laying one word next to another:

My heart skipped out a beat and then flat out tripped over itself and fell on its face. Then my heart stood up, brushed itself off, took deep breath and announced: I want a spiritual teacher

Blog after a good day

18 07 2012

It happens to me pretty often that I feel for writing something – either here or in other channels available but then I don’t. One reason is simply time. Another reason is that I run my thoughts through internal censure and dismiss them mostly cause they do not sound that appealing after some rethinking. Today is different. I feel that I will just write even though I don’t have anything huge to share. Huge for others. For me, the current feeling is huge. For small reasons. Like a friendly encounter. Moment of creation for someone dear to me. A nice song (playing round and round). A walk with Dante in the middle of the night. Dancing while walking (yes to the same song). Finding words of wisdom.

The feeling of liking someone that pure and unconditional way, that the only expression of that feeling is to give freedom to the person by not expecting anything in return, wishing only the best not involving myself in it necessarily.

I finished a video for which I recorded material one month ago. I enjoyed every second of making the video. It’s amazing how many details are recorded and I was witness of without noticing them. This video is a present and I hope it will help to recall magic moments also many years later. It’s a video of a wedding. Making this video I realized what’s so special about weddings (I have never been very keen on having a wedding). It’s a wonderful celebration where only love is present and everyone celebrates it. Nothing else matters for some hours. The two people who decided to honor their relationship by inviting others and letting them witness the promise of endless care for that fragile feeling that when taken care of can grow stronger and greater far beyond the borders of the two individuals.

Ok I can share the song: 

I looove the melody and the dynamics of the song. It’s a great one to jump to (also in the middle of the night outside while walking Dante).

And here we go with the words of wisdom – a perfect summary for an approach to life that will make it good.

Basic rules for being human

Matisyahu…yet another post about music

19 04 2012

The first song that got me was “One day”

The music is nice but this time it was purely the words that caught my attention and whenever I listen to the song my soul sings along:

sometimes in my tears I drown
but I never let it get me down
so when negativity surrounds
I know some day it’ll all turn around
all my life I’ve been waiting for
I’ve been praying for
for the people to say
that we don’t wanna fight no more
there’ll be no more wars
and our children will play

Another one

And a part of the lyrics:

There is a place in the bottom of the soul,
It’s no bread of restitution
Hearts smashed flat like dough
Where there is no pollution

Mute with no words to hold
Hopes, questions or solutions
Bedrock of a river that flowed
No past, present or future

We are men of nature
We are made from the earth
At the end of my eighty, I’ll return to the dirt
Just sand, just rock, dry land, fast and silent
Only bein’ only breathin’

I like the spiritual touch. It inspires me to create. We will see what comes out if it =)

Ok and one more =)

Enjoy the way he plays with words

With ease and grace we stay laced
As we move through the space dancing on a blade
Of grass at twilight a firefly fly free through the night
I shine bright from the ground to the sky



Laleh and sharing music impressions

5 04 2012

I have been listening to Laleh recently and her new album makes me happy. There are so many instruments, so many sounds, I would say that every single note is thought-through. When I notice a new sound, my heart jumps, because it makes total sense to me in her song. Laleh is a story teller – through her lyrics and music.

When I listen to her songs I want to share with someone all the time. “Have you heard that sound? Have you heard that subtile melody? Have you..?”  And then I think back to my teenage years to especially one summer holiday when me and my friend had a walkman each and we listened to the same songs while walking somewhere together and then we would share what we liked. There I felt I could share and also that someone understood exactly what I liked about a song. Was wonderful time =)

She is good Laleh. She is a story teller. Anyone wants to listen to her with me?


21 03 2012

I have been looking at some street art recently and today I felt for some classics so I visited Banksy’s web. I love the work, his thoughts and the playful criticism. And the “shop” part of the webpage made me smile, so I share the content here in the case you are lazy to click around.

Banksy does not make photo canvases, mugs, wall stickers, greeting cards or T shirts.

Please feel free to:
– Copy any Banksy imagery in any way for any kind of personal amusement
– Make your own Banksy marchandise for non commercial purpose
– Pretend you drew it yourself for art homework

Please do not:
– Put up signs saying “strictly no photographs”when all you do is sell photographs of my graffiti
– Write ‘Banksy’ next to an image of a panda waving hand guns (not mine, don’t know whose it is)
– Take images off my website and ‘license’ them for a huge fee to a fucking German calendar company

The piano keys are black and white, but they sound like a million colours in your mind

19 03 2012

Recently I have been blogging/drawing in the other blog I share with Maik and is our common project: prajna vanguard but I feel that this one belongs here. This song brings me back to 2006 and Active seminar about prejudice and stereotypes. I have heard it just recently again and consider it still wonderful. Here we go:

“Spider’s Web” (Katie Melua)

If a black man is racist, is it okay?
If it’s the white man’s racism that made him that way,
Because the bully’s the victim they say,
By some sense they’re all the same.Because the line between,
Wrong and right,
Is the width of a thread,
From a spider’s web.
The piano keys are black and white,
But they sound like a million colours in your mind.

I could tell you to go to war,
Or I could march for peace and fighting no more,
How do I know which is right,
And I hope he does when he sends you to fight.

Because the line between wrong and right,
Is the width of a thread from a spider’s web,
The piano keys are black and white,
But they sound like a million colours in your mind.

Should we act on a blame?
Or should we chase the moments away?
Should we live?
Should we give?
Remember forever the guns and the feathers in time.
Because the line between wrong and right,
Is the width of a thread from a spider’s web,
The piano keys are black and white,
But they sound like a million colours in your mind.
The piano keys are black and white,
But they sound like a million colours in your mind,
But they sound like a million colours in your mind

Little bit about 2011..warm up!

7 01 2012

I am going around summing up my 2011 and I will soon share it here as well. Just to warm up, I can mention one thing already: 2011 was the year of drawing and graphics. 2011 was also a year of my 30th birthday which means it was 30th birthday of several of my friends who I have known since kindergarten. I did not organize a birthday party to celebrate my day but when I was in Slovakia in the end of the year, me and my friends met to celebrate our friendship and the tradition we used to have as teenagers – celebrating birthdays together. Knowing I will meet incredible important people to me, my need for drawing just grew as drawing and art are my way of dealing with emotions. So I sat down and made a collage of words that bring back our history. It was a great exercise that felt almost like meditation. One memory brought another and I was back in time watching all situations I remembered, with distance and possibility to reflect and understand what and who made me the person I am now.


The best medicine

5 01 2012

This miracle will save my day and help me get rid of the cold I brought from Berlin…