Empathy is the cosmic glue that holds us together

By: George H Lewis


An artist's mission is not so much to make people understand the world but to awaken them to the fact that they are the world, expressing itself in endless patterns and facets of the Whole, that we call Mankind.

Are we celebrating the diversity of the human condition or its fragmentation? This is the mission and legacy of the human to express itself through art.

The impact occurs when the force of the future collides with the structures of the past. As Carl Jung said, the human race forms a collective consciousness made up of the individual life streams of all those from a particular culture. We are all drops in the infinite ocean of cosmic consciousness.

When we try to convey essence of the current human condition we must free it from the shackles of academic rigidity. Essence is eternal and can take on the form of the time through which it travels.

Look at history in its long saga of conflict of one set of values impacting another. A painting cannot move you unless there is something inside you that is ready to respond to its message.

We are learning that contrast is not designed to trigger conflict but to produce balance. Like the corpus collosum that connects the left and the right sides of the human brain, so must we connect with each other and keep the balance of humanity and compassion. We cannot rely on only rationale or intuition and human spirit, in order to function wholly we need to be both. We need to have balance. This is imperative on the way we live our lives in this world, we must support the understanding of balance.

This is further evident in the Hindu culture through the wonderful term Namaste which means "the Divine in Me recognizes the Divine in You." Self-interest prevents mutual respect. We do not have to feel disempowered by allowing others the dignity to express their individuality. That which we are not free to externalize, we are forced to internalize.

In both my Middle Eastern Landscapes series and my Gender and Sexuality in the Middle East series, I show the beauty of the landscape amidst the power of the oil refineries, I portray the beauty of the feminine and the masculine, in their respective roles, albeit often in disguise. If people can "see" then they can start to understand and that is my role as an artist - to show, to trigger change of perception, to illuminate truth and understanding.

What drives me as an artist and human being is to serve as an agent for healing. Sadly the current tragic state of world communication is so full of unnecessary conflict and the human soul is falling victim to the corporate mentality.

Life is not a business plan; it is the eternal journey that has the answers to evaluating the validity of our destination. Through my artwork I try to trigger empathy. Empathy is the cosmic glue that holds us together, without this we don't have a civilization. We are all facets of the same jewel, which we call the Universe.

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About George Lewis
George is an internationally acclaimed British contemporary artist, painter, photographer and speaker. As an artist, he seeks to cultivate a symbiosis across cultures, creeds and gender and has exhibited across the UK, Europe, the US and the Middle East. His work is found in the collections of some of the world's most prominent cultural leaders and organisations.

George seeks to cultivate an understanding of diverse cultures and empathy on a global scale. The constant thread that unites his artwork, speaking engagements, tutorials and consulting projects is to challenge the entrenched perception of conflict being the prime directive in the relationship between cultures, values and ideals.