Watercolor and Pastel Artists at CHAW
There’s a lot to explain about Ellen Cornett’s work of art for this show, and about the show that it is in, so just stick with me.
It’s an annual art event and fundraiser sponsored by a DC nonprofit devoted to healing through internal resources. (That’s my WAY shortened version of the mission of the Smith Center for Healing and the Arts.)
Ellen is one of 125 artists chosen by 20 curators to create one piece of art that tells a story about the passage from pain to healing. This year’s show is called “The Night Journey,” and here’s what Ellen told me about how she began the process to find her subject for this show: “When I think of the night combined with something healing, it’s the light of the moon.”
Here’s what she created:
Many ancient cultures see the image of a rabbit in the moon and have stories to go with it. In an Aztec tale to explain the rabbit in the moon, a monkey, a fox, and a hare decide to live in harmony and never hurt another creature. A god hears their plan (natch) and thinks it’s great but wants to challenge them (natch, again).
So, the god appears to them as a hungry hunter. The monkey goes off and brings back berries for him to eat. Still hungry. Then the fox goes off and brings back kernels of maize that he found. The god eats them but is still hungry.
Finally, the hare leaves to find food, but she couldn’t find anything to bring back. She asks the hunter to build a big fire. When the fire is burning high, the hare is about to jump in, to roast herself for the hunter to eat. But the hunter grabs her and tells her that her gift is the most generous act. He says, “I want to take you up into the moon so everyone will know this story and know of your generosity.” Result: Hare in the moon.
I asked Ellen how this story fulfills the Alchemy Vessel invitation to artists to “tell their story about the cyclical passage from pain to healing.”
Ellen said, “To me, the hare’s act was an act of generosity toward a stranger. It’s a good model—giving something important to you to someone else. The story is inspirational and uplifting. Acts of generosity by others always help me.”
So, there you have it.
March 17, 7 to 9 pm: Opening reception (1632 U Street, NW)
April 28, 7 to 10: Benefits Reception (This is where you can buy a ticket for $50-$300 and take one of the 125 art pieces home with you. Tip: The $300 ticket holders get first pick.)
May 5: 7 to 9 pm: Closing reception
Congratulations to Ellen for creating such a beautiful piece of art representing a story of profound generosity.