We live in a very divided political landscape these days. There are a great many vocal people on both the left and the right, and sometimes it is difficult to imagine we can find any common ground with each other.
I helped found, and am the publicity director for, the Canadian branch of the International Watercolor Society (IWS Canada). Our mission is to “promote peace, harmony, love, understanding and acceptance of each others’ differences” through the medium of watercolour. We recently held a contest in which we asked people all over the world to express ways in which they celebrate. We asked what celebration meant to them. Many interpreted the question as ‘what’ do you celebrate, rather than ‘how’. In a way, we were asking for participants to build a bridge for us so we could learn about their cultures. It has meant we’ve interacted with 1450 people all over the world. It may be a small contribution to peace, and love, but many small contributions add up! The 150 finalists chosen by our four jurors can be seen on our website (thanks to the hard work of Ona Kingdon, Elizabeth Franchetto Irvine, and myself ;)), along with the videos in both English and French made by our president, Ona. We recognize, of course, that all art forms “can bring people together despite differences in race, religion, culture and distance.” We just happen to especially love watercolour.
As you know, I also happen to love digital fractal art.
This piece of mine illustrates a landscape full of great divisions, but wherever there is a chasm, the fractal algorithm has built a natural bridge.
What if we did that? What if each of us made it our business to build a small bridge wherever we see a chasm we can’t fill (like in that song by Sting!). Our hearts can be open without compromising our ideals. We don’t have to have “fortresses” around them.
Anyone who knows me knows I love to argue (not fight), just for argument’s sake. So it may seem odd to them – me talking about building bridges. But my arguments are never meant to hurt or cause strife – they are meant to bring more understanding, both for me and for the other person. It really saddens me when that isn’t the outcome, as is sometimes the case. There is always a bridge that can be built or found. We can’t/won’t always cross the bridges, and can’t expect others to cross over to us either, but at least we may get a little closer to seeing the others’ point of view, and sometimes we can meet in the middle.