Susannah Paterson Painter, Ceramicist & Psychotherapist

Anima Mundi


A few days ago I received a letter from an organisation in Italy, inviting me to submit my work for consideration for the Anima Mundi Festival in Venice. It was not the invitation that excited me so much because I am perpetually invited to submit work. It is flattering until you read the small print and find not only does it cost $$$ to submit, if you do get chosen, you are up for even BIGGER dollars getting work shipped there and back, (and don't forget the insurance, your air fare, accomodation etc). Naturally, there are no guarantees of sales.

I was excited by the name itself - Anima Mundi, Latin, for" Soul of the World" . I was so excited that they had seen and understood my work, and that it fitted into that place.

Have you ever had that experience where you are trying to express something seemingly elusive or inexpressible? It can drive you crazy. Then one day, whilst you are bumbling along, you see something, or, somebody says something to you that encapsulates it just so perfectly. You feel delighted, excited or relieved. It happens in therapy a lot, when the therapist reflects something back to us that we have been trying to work out, or convey or understand. Sometimes referred to as a “light bulb moment”. All these years through my painting struggling to express something I could not find he words to convey. I want to shout out that there this otherworldly presence so omnipresent, yet mostly ignored by the majority of our species - The Soul of the World.

Anima Mundi is what environmentalists are so painfully aware of . “The Greenies” who are referred to with disdain by those who cannot feel it. Those who cannot feel the earth crying. They cannot feel the wounds we are inflicting on this Earth and it's soul.

When someone has a lightbulb moment they will do one of two things. They can radically adjust the course of their lives, like the moment during a breath meditation, when I realised that smoking cigarettes was absolutely crazy stupid ( what was I doing inhaling all those chemicals and poisons into my body and telling myself it was relaxing?). Or, they will not act .. they leave the insight on the trail behind them as something delightful in the moment but of no use or relevance for the future

I aim to make use of this light bulb. I want it to help me clarify and delve deeper into the task of creating a strong visual billboard that says Wake Up and Feel!

Meantime, I now look at Evocative or the charcoal drawing “Loved and Lost” and say to you this is Anima Mundi the way I experience it.