….wild is the wind…creative freedom is the seed….
On the 6th August 2014 at 7am Kathmandu time, a Peace and Protection Puja (Spiritual Ritual in the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition) was done on behalf of Kel1st and Yu (as an art entity) to thank our dear friends and all those who were so very kind to us in our creative journeys. As the world was once again in turmoils, the decision to commission the puja began as a wish for those closest to us to receive peace and protection, but soon it became also an offering of positive protection to the world which were sadly in need of “Peace, NOW!” The Wish for Peace is FOREVER… Our curated art event was cancelled on the 2nd – 3rd August 2014, due to events which we could only describe as “Acts of God” so we did not have a lot of time for the artists to design beautiful posters/invitations like the one done by Kel1st and Yu in 2013. Everything came together in less than 48 hours, so this was our invitation to the whole planet to come to the peace and protection puja at the Great Boudhanath Stupa of Peace, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most sacred pilgrimage sit for Hindus and Buddhists in the world. 1000 Butterlamps (Candles prepared in a traditional Tibetan style were offered as part of the Peace and Protection Ritual. Local Buddhist monks and Lamas were very kind to perform the chanting of a traditional peace and protection ritual in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition for many hours…. Lol. They looked quite tired from the long hours of prayers, chanting and playing of ritual instruments. It was a wonderful ritual and it was very kindly organised on behalf of Kel1st and Yu by those on the Committee that looks after the overall wellbeing of the Great boudhanath Stupa of Peace as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Kathmandu Nepal (also spelt Bauddhanath Stupa in UNESCO website ) We thank them for their kindness and generosity in understanding the needs of the artists in the situation. Those who work to protect the national heritage site do a wonderful job every year as so many visitors come to the Great Boudhanath Stupa of peace from all over the world; world leaders, ordinary people, pilgrims from all over the world and even those fleeing from oppressions in their own country in search of peace congregate around the Great stupa. In a parallel event in New York city, there were enthusiastic and gifted thinkers/artists who wanted to RingBells4Peace which began at 7.15pm Eastern Time to remember the WWII bombing of Hiroshima in Japan! RingBells4Peace in partnership with VOWW (Voices of Women Worldwide, New York) organised a march from 14th St to Wall Street where Satyagraha protestors demanded for an end to economically motivated warfares and conflicts. Before a sculpture of Gandhi, everyone rang bells and sang a rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine”. After the RingBells4Peace march, everyone at the event were invited by the lobby group “A world without war”, to a concert of reknowned musicians at the St. John’s Lutheran Church at 8pm. This featured the music of Peter Yarrow, “Father of Puff the Magic Dragon” (of “Peter, Paul and Mary” fame) and certainly a global expert on protest songs that defined an entire generation’s wish for peace, in the western English speaking world. Other notable performers included David Amram, Gy Davis, the Peaceniks, Spook Handy (who did a tribute to Pete Seeger), The Raging Grannies, Namaya, Bruce Markow, Atsuko Yuma, Hilario Soto and Russell Daisey. Cecilia expressed to the founder of Voww, “I am not sure, so don’t laugh, as I was not born then so I had to google everyone! But I think these are some photos of Peter Yarrow and I really love his use of both the Isreali and Palestinian flags for Peace! When I saw this, I think of my dear friends from Yala Youth Leaders and wha thte youths of the MENA region had to go through in the last month of war between Isreal and Palestine. They saw more than their homes and securities destroyed. They had their faith and hopes shattered by the way alleged Adults were acting on both sides. They saw people polarising and picking sides, but nobody wanted to choose the Middleway of Peace! Many from YALA worked so hard with the support of Peres Peace Foundation to try to enrole in e-college courses (like economics, business, geo-politics, international mediation and journalism). They tried so hard to tell the world daily, “Don’t Boycott our future. You are not harming the decision makers. You are harming our future. Please give culture, give education and give opportunities to us instead!” It is so sad for me to 3 years of their hard work destroyed in less than a month.” All this occurred in conjunction with the iProtest yearly culture event at #NL2B (Nothing Left2Burn) hosted by Kel1st and Yu at the Bombed Out Church, St.Lukes in Liverpoool, England. The church itself is a national heritage site because of its historic resilience against Nazi bombings during World War II, even though it burned for 4 days, it stood tall as a symbol against oppressions and violence! For 3 years, #NL2B as a weekend culture events enabled many famous and local artists to experiment in a safe and artists-led environment. In 2013, #NL2B experienced a tragedy which touched all our hearts. A young DJ and artist by the name of Carla Dunphy-Clarkson committed suicide after a wonderful performance opening the first day of “Nothing Left2Burn”. At the time because of the nature of her suicide which involved abuse and domestic violence, Kel1st and Yu decided to keep her full name out of any media releases in order to honour the privacy of her griefing family. A year later, 2014, the Bombed out church supported Carla’s sister in organising a “Free Hugs day” to commemorate the positive light Carla represented to all of us at #NL2B and at St.Lukes. We wanted the world to know that Carla was more than a mere young adult death statistics. She was a special human being and an artist who gave of her light generously to the world. This included the time she gave to fundraise in order to keep the Bombed out Church, 100% artists-led. We want to congratulate everyone for Carla’s wonderful commemorative eulogy in the press. It was focussed on the dignity of her life and the integrity of her belief in the art. Unlike other eulogies we saw of another Graffiti artist who passed away this year, which occurred in an indelicate timing, not respecting the wishes of family and those griefing; which seemed to treat the occasion as an opportunity to product brand!
Carla’s eulogy in the media appeared a year later with an emphasis on the love and respect others felt for her life’s work. It was dignified, factually accurate, free of salacious embellishment and done in consultation with the wishes of the family. It was a heart-warming piece that respected the sanctity of a human life. For that reason, We (as Kel1st and Yu) also dedicate our Peace and Protection Puja and all our creative synergistic endeavors to young women like Carla Clarkson who experienced private domestic hell and also to the youths in the MENA region who are experiencing the daily hell of war, violence and conflict. May everyone have peace, enjoy a safe and protected life away from violence, hatred, greedy exploitation and strife. Though Kel1st and Yu stayed home this year while all this was going on, we wanted to remind everyone that sometimes the creative synergy that enables peace, love and all things that protect and nurture our art and our world, begins with human beings choosing to affect that in their own homes and in their own immediate surroundings. Peace is a personal choice.