With the support of an ROI Microgrant I was able to return to the NGO Tevel in Nepal and offer consulting sessions as well as to conducting Gratefulness workshop in four communities with 24 fellows.
The fellows and I were sitting in a circle with a view on the green and brown mountains, where the clouds were sinking below into the valley, providing us with the feeling of sitting on a carpet made of white puffy clouds.
In front of me I had drawing paper, notes, more than 100 coloured pencils and few pens. These were the only material tools used during this 3h workshop, the rest was the magic of calm minds and loving hearts :) We started with a short meditation and breathing techniques. The fellows were open to take part in an activity so different from their everyday routines as volunteers living under harsh conditions. From faces full of concentration I slowly could discover smiles and warm face expressions. All of us have things to be grateful in life for. Don’t we?
All the workshops were unique, just like the fellows. In some the fellows felt calm and happy, in others mountains of ice between them started to melt and some truly opened up and shared personal issues in the group. Some workshops were concluded with warm hugs, a gratefulness circle, some with tears and some with the expression of true harmony, joy and relief.
We were living the “NOW” and my heart was filled with joy and gratitude for being part of this little magic. Transformation and reflection sometimes can just take a minute or two hours, depending on the direction taken. Our direction was: Gratefulness and appreciation of what we have in life and of where we are at the moment.
Having personal and group journeys simultaneously can be a very powerful experience. During each and every session my heart was filled with joy, because I believed in every moment of it and my heart was open.
Before the gratefulness workshop I was open for consulting sessions for fellows working in the field of education, youth and women empowerment. I hope the ideas and experience I have shared during this time with the fellows will be beneficial and useful in the beautiful and challenging work they do this year.
I am grateful to ROI and Lynn Schustermann for providing me with this wonderful opportunity of coming back to Nepal and share what I believe in.
Grateful ROI member, creative educator, social psychologist, artist and the founder of LoveSky - Mindful Creativity Studio Berlin, Alisa Poplavskaya
Открытие выставки избранных произведений наших художников состоится 25 октября 2014 г. в 19.00 в Art Center Galerie на улице Георгенштрассе 44, 10117 Берлин. Сердечно приглашаем на вернисаж всех членов Общины. Специальные приглашения на это мероприятие мы разошлем в начале октября.
За более подробной информацией просим обращаться к руководителю галереи, госпоже Гезе Коцо, вт.– сб. с 10–18.00, тел.: 20 05 94 82
Die Eröffnung der Ausstellung mit den ausgesuchten Werken unserer Künstler findet am 25. Oktober 2014 um 19 Uhr in der Art Center Galerie, Georgenstraße 44, 10117 Berlin, statt. Hierzu laden wir alle Gemeindemitglieder schon jetzt herzlich ein. Dazu werden Anfang Oktober für die Vernissage gesonderte Einladungen versandt.
Ansprechpartner: Geza Koczoh, Galerieleiter Art Center Galerie. Di–Sa 10–18 Uhr, Telefon 20 05 94 82
Art Exhibition, art workshops and sessions by Alisa Poplavskaya at Limmud Germany
This year´s Limmud Germany took place for the first time at Neuharlingersiel at on the Northern Atlantic coast. In previous years the Jewish learning festival had taken place in or close to Berlin.
Whilst the sea in late April was still much too cold to swim, the warmth had to came from within and from the passion dedicated to the activities.
I was happy to exhibit my brand you as well as my older paintings in the major exhibition "The Spiritellectual Art of Alisa Poplavskaya" which opened on the first night night of Limmud with 80 guests and stayed until the end. The word creation Spiritellectual was created to describe the mixing of abstract motifs from the midrash with colourful and emotional images, such as the "Pomegranate of Commandments", which previously had been exhibited alongside Marc Chagall's works in Berlin. The exhibition took place in the room in which the prayers were offered, supporting the kavanah of the congregation on Shabbat.
During another lesson I did, the participants were asked to reflect on the motifs of the paintings. A heated discussion took place on the connection of the path from slavery to freedom and the kabbalistic idea of the Five Levels of the Soul. Some felt that certain kabbalistic concepts should remain separate from contemporrary Jewish practice, while others believed them to be more accessible for seekers than a Judaism of mitzvot only.
In the CreARTiva Tikkun Olam session the participants were encouraged to explore their own spirituality. I hereby used the methods I had learned from working with Tevel Btzedek in Nepal. Most people who participated actively were in their 20s and 30s, so it turned out to be quite like a world cafe activity.
A special pleasure for me was the classes I held for children. Whilst I mostly communicated during Limmud in Hebrew and Russian, working with the children helped me to practice my German, as I have only been living in Germany for six months.
What fascinated me about Limmud Germany was the heterogenity of the German Jewish community and the influence of the Israelis who have moved to Berlin in recent years. I am happy to be one of the pioneers, along with my husband, in reinventing and vitalizing the new emerging narrative of this community.
I would like to express my deepest and most heartfelt gratitude to the Genesis Philantropy Group for facilitating and supporting my active participation at the Limmud Germany 2015, and to the ROI Community founded by Lynn Schusterman for giving me the opportunity to use Microgrant to transport my paintings from Bratislava to Berlin, to purchase art materials for my workshops and to develop my art prints.
Thank you for Making it Happen!
Blessings, Alisa Poplavskaya
Dear friends and dear people of mine, please let's stop living with our prejudices. By breaking free from them within yourself - you will realise how many new doors will be opened to you.
This documentary shows the works of GOD Almighty through science and nature. No longer can non-believers declare the non existence of God in science. The scientists in this documentary are some of the highest regarded in the scientific community. This wonderful documentary is simply great!
I would like to express my deepest and most heartfelt gratitude to the ROI Community founded by Lynn Schusterman for giving me the opportunity to publish my first art catalog.
My art is rooted in the inspiration I receive through symbols and religious and spiritual texts such as the Tanach, the Talmudic Midrashim, the Kabbalistic Book of Zohar and other sources. My art has become an inner passion for a greater spiritual reality that exists in my mind and soul. For the last five years I have been exhibiting my artworks in Sweden, Austria, Israel, and Slovakia. In 2013 I am planning to organize exhibitions of my artworks in Bratislava, Prague and Berlin. The art catalogue includes artworks of mine, explanations and ideas. I am delighted to use the Micro grant for publishing my first art catalogue which is a great promotion material during exhibitions and will involve people in learning about Jewish culture, texts and ideas through art.
As a Paideia fellow I came across the concept of spreading Jewish knowledge and meaningful identity through Jewish literacy. Yet I understood that valuable Jewish texts from Midrashim or mystical sources are not easily accessible for many people in the Hebrew or Aramaic original. Therefore I wish to use the universal language of visualization in order to illuminate spiritual concepts and inspire the observers and try to make them understand that our Jewish tradition can be seen as a colourful mosaic. Text speaks to our ratio, but paintings speak to our emotions. And through using one you can awaken the excitement for the other, to be used in Shiurim all across the J globe.
Link to the catalog:
Pomegranate of Commandments
Acrylic on Canvas, 90x80 cm, Stockholm, 2008
In the painting “Pomegranate of Commandments” the pomegranate seeds appear to the observer as Hebrew letters, hinting at the notion of the holiness of language, similar to the idea that James Joyce had for his “Ulysses”, language is the martial art of our human spiritual eyes.
This is one aspect. Based on Jewish mystical scripture a pomegranate is the symbol of the 613 commandments in the Torah. There are two different kinds of commandments: The DOs and the DON’Ts that scripture can reflect back from the reality it stems from, be it real or a legend. The same division is also to be found in the “Ten Commandments”, where five commandments present the relationship between God and humans and the other five represent the relationships among people, which can be understood both in a religious or a Kantian way. These relationships are presented by the different branches and roots, which are either growing up or pointing down. The branches which are growing up symbolize our connection to our HIGHEST, and the branches which are growing down symbolize the relationships between people.
The path inside the pomegranate begins with dark colours and at the end it becomes golden: this symbolizes the Exodus of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt to the land of milk and honey. In the colours of “milk and honey” the observer finds similarities to a map of the biblical lands. Focus on the second glimpse...
The Seven Days of Creation in חי or חי in the Seven Days of Creation?
Acrylic on Canvas, 80x80 cm, Bratislava, 2012
This painting is based on the concept of the world’s creation from the Book of Genesis and the Kabbalistic concept of חי (life, living, alive).
The combination of these two concepts in the painting represents life, as a state of being alive, in any possible intellectual and emotional understanding. In the painting there are day and night, water above and water below, an earth with plants and fruit–bearing trees, a division between light and darkness, the planets and stars, living creatures and human beings. The romantic story and the concept of love in our understanding enter on the sixth day. From this moment on the Hebrew Bible is not following the story of the stars in detail anymore, but follows conscious life on earth and the relations between the human beings of different genders: the beginning of the romantic story and a relationship.
The question “Seven days of creation in חי or חי in seven days of creation?“ points at mysticism and realism, not judging between theoretical life (in scripture) and the kaleidoscope of the colours in our soul. Time started before humanity, but humanity is the only entity to recognize it. Based on this you find the seven days of creation inside and outside the big חי. The mystical background are the five worlds and the five levels of soul, where the חי is the “fifth element”.