I prefer to call my art pieces as my “SOULWORKS” because for me, they are not just artworks, they are souls represented in art. They serve as a direct connection to my soul and represent matters that I value.
The concept of my soulworks revolves around powerful life lessons, aha moments and realizations I’ve gained from life. These are those “Moments” that made huge impact in my life and have taught me to be a better version of myself. I would like to preserve and pass these lessons and inspirations to others through the best way I can and that is through my soulworks. I believe that we are all connected as human beings and that we share the same emotions. I hope that the audience could see part of themselves through my soulworks and hopefully connect to them and inspire them to have a more positive outlook in life.
The form of the human body, specifically the naked body, has always fascinated me. I find it elegant, classic and very relatable. I love the sincerity and raw beauty that a naked figure represents. These qualities inspire me to use nude figure as my subject matter. I also incorporate elements of nature and animals to the human figure to show that we are all connected.
I mostly work with oil on canvas and I also draw using graphite on paper. The creative process starts with conceptualization, which is an import part for me as I believe that a good concept will serve as a good foundation for my soulwork. I make sure the concept excites me and usually these are powerful inspiring life lessons. Once I’ve visualized my idea, I start painting or drawing. More often than not I find myself lost in my art as I go with the flow of passion running through my paintbrush or my pencil. I call it: “Love made visible through Art.”
My style can be considered as a marriage of realism, expressionism and symbolism. I love painting my subject as realistic as possible because for me it holds the most significant message of the piece so it must be recognizable to the eyes of the viewers (no matter if they are an expert in art or not). My biggest fear is for anyone who would look at my soulwork and would not know what they are looking at, what it’s saying, or what is the purpose of the object in front of them. I paint a panting for it to be understood by the viewer and for the viewer to connect to the inspiring message of the piece. It is usually at the background of the painting that I tried to be as expressive as I can with the use different bold and playful brush strokes to create balance. The profound visual narrative and the techniques used aims to reveal the invisible within the visible. I also use a lot of symbolism to my soulworks as I find it to be an effective and interesting way of telling stories. I want my soulworks to not only be beautiful but also to tell meaningful stories. Quality is one of my top priorities. I never rush when I paint and give it the time and attention it needs until it speaks to my heart, until I know that I’ve given it my best.
Though I take into consideration the use of different techniques, I value more the feelings that I put into my works. I paint and draw with my heart. For me, a soulwork is successful if it can make anyone who would look at it feel the emotion that it’s supposes to give. It’s like delivering a clear message by touching the hearts of the viewers.
The concept of my painting/Soulwork titled “Seed of Faith” has been inspired by my own personal Spiritual Battle that directly relates to Ephesians 6:10-20. As I went through the difficult times in my life, God’s words helped me a lot and these have taught me life lessons that I would like preserve and share through my painting (as I know a lot of people can relate to it). All of us, at some point in our lives, will experience tough times or worst being at rock-bottom (represented in the painting “Seed of Faith” by the skull, dried soil, dark atmosphere). It was written in the scripture that “we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against the forces of evil of the unseen world .” It wants to remind us that our problems/trials may come in different forms but we must be aware that there are things going on that we may not see but exists and that is the powerful force of evil that only wants to destroy us and our relationship with God. In the painting “Seed of Faith”, this evil force is being symbolised by the vulture. The vulture search for souls who are currently facing problems and feeds from the soul’s fear and worry. By the time that the soul looses connection with God and gives up, the vulture will reach its point of satisfaction by taking the soul and destroying it completely. That is why as written in Ephesians 6:10-20, we must equip ourselves with the “Armour of God”. It’s ironic that the main figure in the painting is not wearing anything and it’s because I would like to emphasise that the Armour of God is not made of material things that we can wear physically but it is something that we develop within us. The noticeable element of the figure is the seedling that grows on her hand. It represents the “Seed of Faith” that the painting suggests that we all must plant within ourselves, accepting God in our lives and growing faith towards God. Just like a seedling, we must nurture our faith by being aware of the God’s words, having a constant open communication with Him by praying and trying our best to follow His teachings.
By the time that the evil force will attack us, the “Seed of faith” towards God will equip us and will make us understand the majestic power of the Armour of God:
- Belt of Truth. If we have faith in the words of God as the truth, then that truth will holds us together like a belt.
- Breastplate of Righteousness : Protect our heart by keeping it pure and filled with only good intentions that is rooted in God’s words.
- Shoes of the Gospel of Peace. The evil force will try to make us fall by making us worry and anxious about the problem but we have to remember that Jesus is our ultimate peace and He offers us this inner peace that’s why we must know that no problem can make us fall.
- Shield of faith. The evil force will keep on firing these arrows of doubts inside of our mind and the only way we can combat that is through the shield of faith , trusting and believing in Jesus will protect us from all these doubts.
- Helmet of Salvation. Renew our mind with the truth of God, to remind ourselves on what God has done for us and at the same time filling our minds with the word of God.
- Sword of the Spirit. Our weapon is the word of God.
In the painting “Seed of Faith” , calmness can be traced from the face of the figure, her posture suggests confidence and determination, like she is dress for spiritual success as she is aware of the strength that God bestowed her as Child of God.
If you will carefully look at seedling, it is located at the centre of the figure’s palm, somehow the same position as of stigmata or bodily marks corresponding to those of the crucified Jesus Christ, that suggest mystical union and connection with Christ. I also want it to remind us that when Jesus Christ died and rose from the dead, He conquered sin and death and from that time, we are already VICTORIOUS. Because of this, whenever we face a spiritual battle, we must remember that we fight from a place of Victory and not for victory.
I want to end this with what is written in the scripture, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, nothing is impossible for you.” If you feel like your problem is bigger than you, just like the vulture in the painting, being higher than the figure, look above the vulture and you will see the white dove, it symbolises the presence of God, the Holy Spirit, reminding you that noting is higher, nothing is bigger or more powerful than God. If you accept God in your life, if you plant that “Seed of Faith” in you, every battle is won before it is fought.
Hari Lualhati - The Artist
Cost/Price of the Painting: 70,000.00 South African Rand
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