16 mar 2023 QALB AL-ASAD – THE HEART OF THE LION
TEXT: LINDA HOLLIER
When the film “The Lion King” was first released in 1994, we were living in Germany at the time. As the stirring music in the opening scene filled the movie theatre, I recall knowing without a doubt that I came from Africa. It was as if I could feel it in my body.
The opening words of the movie from the song “The Circle of Life” are:
“Nants ingonyama bagithi baba
Sithi uhm ingonyama”
These words in Zulu, one of the languages spoken in South Africa where I was born, translate as “Here comes a lion, father, Oh yes it’s a lion”.
And so begins Simba’s journey. It is the hero’s journey, and as in all great mythologies, he will go on an adventure, be decisive in a crisis and come home transformed.
This will require him to have exceptional courage and bravery, two qualities implied of someone who is said to have the heart of a lion, or a lion’s heart.
In astronomy, the constellation Leo meaning lion, has as its brightest star Regulus (Latin for “little king”), which is also one of the brightest stars in the night sky. Ancient Arab stargazers called this star “Qalb al-Asad” which means “the heart of the lion”. I was fascinated to learn this, as we also spent almost ten years living in the Middle East where Arabic is spoken.
It is in the Middle East that my journey into the world of Mobile Art, and in my particular case more specifically iPhoneart, began. My logo has my name, Linda, written in both Arabic and English.
Interestingly enough, the lion is not only associated with strength and courage but also with feminine energy, co-operation, community, creativity, intuition and imagination.
In the last few months, I have sensed the need for all these qualities as I have embarked upon a new adventure. I realized the time had come for me to step forward yet again as a pioneer, and enter the Metaverse – a virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users.
The Metaverse is fully immersive and at this point in time can be accessed via headsets, mobile devices or laptops.
I am an explorer at heart, loving travel not only around the world, but also in cyberspace. For just over ten years I have been writing in my blogs about the need for mindfulness as we make use of all the new technologies at our disposal.
This theme also runs through my iPhoneart where I explore the concept of rootedness and movement occurring simultaneously. Focusing on the energy surrounding a scene, I intuitively capture images using a slow shutter technique on my iPhone. Using a number of apps, I then create my own textures and blends and paint on my iPhone screen using my finger. Many of the resulting artworks are then printed onto recycled wood. The figures in my artworks appear to be rooted in a moment but at the same time appear to be moving in another time and space, as they invite the viewer to follow them to discover the journey that is waiting to unfold.
It was now time for me to take my iPhoneart into the metaverse world and all it encompasses.
I now have my own avatar, and have set up my own gallery space in a metaverse called Spatial. I am able to walk around the gallery with guests, discussing and answering questions. I am able to visit other spaces, make interesting new connections and enter into new collaborations.
I am able to attend parties and make dance moves that I know I would definitely not be able to execute were I not in this space!
My interest in the architecture of cyberspace has been sparked yet again, and in a recent project I investigated the design and use of portals in the Metaverse as a means to transport avatars instantaneously to new spaces or possibly even different metaverses.
This led to a new series called “Navigating the Metaverse”. Each of these abstract works has been minted as an NFT which can be purchased using cryptocurrency on a platform called OpenSea. It took me time to find out what this all meant, how to go about minting NFTs and how to set up my own wallet.
It has been rather scary at times and I am sure I still have a lot to learn, but I feel ready for the adventure.
My first gallery in the Metaverse is called “Linda’s Stillness in Movement Exhibition”. The figures in the artworks are both still and moving, and in the heart of their movement there is a sense of stillness and calm as if they are moving in other realms than the one’s we are used to.
Whilst writing this article I have reflected on how the lioness stalks her prey. She deploys all her skill and focus as she goes about stillness in movement. Her movement is quiet and careful in order not to be seen or heard until it is necessary. She is both graceful and powerful. She knows that she is not alone as lions have an excellent co-operative hunting technique. She is totally present in the moment and is in the flow. Her endeavours will in the long run enable her to assert her feminine energy to bring forth birth and new power.
Wherever we are, whether it be in our daily activities or as we move around in cyberspace, let us ask ourselves this question: Can we embody these qualities with the heart of the lion?