A young boy with broken sandals, feet torn and weathered from the street and hair telling the tangled story of his short life, approached the Australian Embassy wall where my team and I were painting the #WallofHope mural. The boy stared at the two painted children with a glossy gaze for some time. He watched each of the artists’ hands intently as our brushes married paint with wall. He then moved slowly and curiously to the buckets of paint, dipping his finger in the colors to feel the texture and stroking his fingers along the bristles of the brushes. He wasn’t like the hundreds of observers who had stopped on the street to take “selfies” or get a glimpse of the live painting for a moment before continuing on with their lives; he was in it, so we gave him a brush. He painted the prayer flags beside another volunteer from the theatre company. He cut the lines with his brush with such focus and attention for over an hour. We may never know the details of his story; however, his conviction to live is forever painted into this mural and his brushstroke describes the very essence of the message conveyed through symbolic story telling.
On February 27th, at three in the morning, the Wall of Hope mural on the Australian Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal was complete. From early morning to late at night for a week my team and I worked. Thank goodness a theatre lighting team installed professional lights on the power pole for us to push through the nights! Before permission to paint was granted from the Australian Ambassador we had a meeting. “Ten-thousand Nepali women are trafficked into India every year. Do you know the updated percentage of women trafficked out of Nepal is?” the Ambassador was asked. His response struck a chord in all of us in the room, “… Even one is too many!” We sent him a sketch, he gave us the go ahead and the Embassy provided us lunch, tea and coffee for the duration of our painting. It was an honor to volunteer our time, art and love to such an important cause and we are so thankful that the Australian Embassy works in support of human rights and is not afraid to show it on the streets! On the far left of the painting brick factories known to use slave labor were painted into the window and the smoke pollution enters into the room. Two children were painted behind barbed wire with purple shadows in their skin revealing the psychological and physical bruising as a result of being forced into slave labor. The girl is holding up her index finger to call out for the oneness of Nepal and equality for all. The boy is holding up a peace sign. The barbed wire emerges from the golden window frame and falls upon the messed up bed that is spilling out. A bed with thorns that addresses sex trafficking. The Nepali doll on the ground is longing and calling out for the return of child-like innocence. The enormous hand is pouring warm, welcoming tea from a tea pot of silver, jade and red coral. The word “Harmony” is inscribed onto the tea cup three times. A Nepali broom leans up against the back wall for cleansing up the pollution and pain. Marigolds hang from the kettle and the prayer flags inviting in a world of harmony, compassion and love. The steam rises from the cup, enveloping the Nepali grandmother who chooses to transform her wrinkles of adversity into warm wrinkles that smile at life. The beautiful Nepali dancer is holding her hand like a mirror looking at the beautiful reflection of freedom within. A plant, life, is growing atop the bookshelf that holds wisdom and education dear. The cat in “Kat -hmandu” wears a Dhaka Topi traditional Nepali hat. The cat serves as comic relief, peering in the window of a heavy topic. He is also wearing a surgical mask for the pollution as a huge percentage of the Kathmandu residents wear masks on the street because the air quality is so pour. Fluffy white clouds enter into the room carrying the dream of blue skies. The butterfly is the metamorphoses and beauty in life!
While confronting such an important subject, obstacles appeared left and right. Team members became ill, conflicting energies arose, infections and exhaustion began to set in… and I can say that I am so proud of my team for stepping up, showing up for life, working through internal blocks, healing repetitive patterns of the past that serve us no longer and practicing what we preach. Chris Marcinkowski, Bethany M Richardss and Lívia Riboldicomposed an all-star team that I am honored to know. Over the past decade leading projects throughout the world in war zones, refugee camps and jungles, it became clear that unless you are numb, intense emotions rise in the facilitators and the choice to walk on and transform the suffering into golden lessons, be the alchemists of our own lives, and embody peace within and around us, is the key to manifesting the world we dream of. Our team did not backdown and from this courage a masterpiece was created in honor of the courage of all of humanity to rise above the victim-perpatrator mentality and find the hero within to emerge out of the “belly of the whale” triumphant and glowing!
With so much gratitude for @BevHoffman and the wall of hope we share the photos of the #AustralianEmbassy mural. The Wall of Hope women’s rights movement continues and if you wish to support a very powerful cause please visit the Gofundme campaign at –https://www.gofundme.com/endviolenceagainstwomeninnepal Bethany M Richards continues on to paint two more murals for Walls of Hope, Chris Marcinkowski is painting a mural for the animal rescue shelter in Kathmandu, Lívia Riboldi returned to Brazil returning to her dance company and work with disabled and I am resting a coupld days in Athens, Greece after painting 15 murals in 3.3 months around the world! =) – Thank you Australian Ambassador and staff – Thank you TEAM, Rachiv Dangol and volunteers! AND Thank you to all the women and children who courageously transform suffering into opportunity to transform their lives and those around them!!! We also want to send a shout out full of gratitude to #ParkVillage Resort for the amazing support and hospitality throughout our 3 weeks working on the EU and Australian Embassies!