20 x 25,5 cm . 7,9 x 10″ // Acrylic on Photograph // 202e
Originale Malerei.Original Painting
by Mona Schaffer
Our hearts know the truth, the way, the plan. Nearly 6 years have passed since I listened to my heart when it started to hum Cuba, Cuba, Cuba! The calling was strong, and I knew it was time to go. It was 2015 and I was studying interior architecture. My father had died two years ago and left a hole in my chest. He was an artist and I knew the hole I felt inside myself was one that could only be filled by me. I had the dream to paint for a long time but let fear bury it for several years. One day I asked for freedom and I asked to feeling alive again - the day my heart started to hum Cuba I knew life was answering.
In the end of 2016 I landed in Havana and entered the University of Arts. In that time I felt drained and tired of life. I was overwhelmed by the presence of the people around me and felt that my energy was so different than theirs.
I often felt tears running down my cheeks - later I would understand that it was chains breaking off my heart releasing it into freedom.
In the first months on this island my body was sick various times, felt a lot of pain and fear. I was forced to learned to give in. And once I was willing to accept to give up my strength came back. I felt like a dry sponge filling up with water - a pure and strong energy started to flow through my body again. My heart was sparkling of joy, I was alive, I fell back in love with life, myself and my todays husband.
The music and vibrant colours that were all around me continued to vibrate in every cell of my body.
I started to paint, learned to trust my intuition again and dove more and more into understanding - I always had been an artist. There was never a hole to fill, there was just a part of myself that needed to be nourished. When I left Cuba in summer 2018 the journey continued. Back in Germany I had the same feeling that I once felt entering Cuba. My energy was so different to the energy of the people around me. It was the moment I understood - I was so connected with my heart and I felt when people were talking disconnected to theirs. What once was normal now felt draining and I often found myself breathing deeply into my heart as it helped me to keep it open - to stay connected.
I found myself many nights browsing through all the snapshots I had taken in the past year in Havanna. Until one day I chose 428 of them which I printed out and started to paint them over. The photos brought me back into a surrounding that nourished me with so much energy. I felt, I reconnected and brought this energy back to live in my studio in Germany.
I was working on the series for over 4 years and always asked myself when it would be time to finish.. until this moment in march 2022 when I deeply felt I was ready for another journey. This cycle that started in 2013 was ready to be closed so another cycle could start. I decided to choose all the paintings that felt ready to me and ended up with 81 paintings - it is the number of accepting the past and starting new. I hear my heart humming again and I am excited for the new journey to come.
I know we are able to make the biggest changes in times that feel hardest. I know that those are the moments in which we have nothing more to loose, in which we learn to let go and start to bloom.
I know we all need a reminder from time to time that our heart is always humming - the only question is: are you listening?