I am Živa (pronounced Zheva; in Czech language alive). The Slovan predecessor of Eva who did not know the guilt yet. Živa – the Goddess Mother who carries in her body and soul a lot of what should be born. I have to generate close to the Earth to be fruitful, real and alive. To create, to share, to nourish that is my mission.
Creative expression in the broadest sense is for me the way of self-realization. It is possible to translate in the tangible world which I consider as my life task – inner development, the healing of womanhood, our relationship to the Earth, different forms of learning and uncovering the wisdom of indigenous tribal cultures.
My story begins with a word. The word from childhood was my best friend and confidante. In my journals I was talking with myself to understand, reconnect my inside content and move forward. I wrote poems and stories and articles to share my life-experience with the world.
I interrupted the continuity of my existing life with a two year long overseas journey (which has continued in England after a four months stopover in my country). That triggered a need for a brighter way of creative expression. Underneath the Australian sky the outlines of the words started to blur untill I went over to the paintings which enabled a much higher degree of the abstraction and overstepped the borders of the language. I lived a very different life than I was used to – close to the Earth, with minimum material goods. I dismissed. I delved. I created. I let the paintings speak, read in them my soul, climbed over the umbilical cord to the beginning of the sources, fingered the walls of womb and discovered the Woman inside me.
Very soon I have realized that what I make goes beyond the definition of art how I understood it. I stopped being interested in the perspective of the whole european tradition strictly watching the robbed past, analyzing and judging an aesthetic dimension of the artwork according to circumscribed norms. In front of aboriginese paintings I began to think about the sanctity of the creative process. That it is a way to connect with myself, with the Earth, with the ancestors. That it is a way to overstep the identity of creator-artist and make a space for collective importance (like healing, protection, maintenance of continuity). I asked: what is creating? Is it me or is there anything supraindividual? Whilst creating I disappear in my individualized form. I connect with the collective subconscious, with non–verbal powers. Whilst creating I heal myself to be closer to myself.
The more I am opening up through painting the more all the other ways of creative expression are awakening inside me. My body found its way of dancing, I started to play a flute and to discover the possibilities of my voice, not just in speaking and singing but also in different sounds. All that without predetermined rules, without an effort to learn in the traditional sense. When intuition is allowed a space in the creative process, naturally it takes the lead also in different parts of life – whether it is cooking, gardening or even making love.
It took me many years to fully surrender to the idea to continue on the started journey of socio-cultural anthropologist. However important I consider the study of different cultures (mainly tribal ones) I know that I will voluntarily lock myself in a prison of one-sided work of the mind. With hands from clay I have realized that I need to develop equally on all levels – physical, emotional, mental and also spiritual.
I was a fruit-picker, a carer of animals and also children, a volunteer teacher and also a builder, a sales assistant in a bookshop and also an editor for a magazine, a chef and a barista in a cafe, an assistant in a gallery and auction hall and also painter and room decorator – many of those in different countries. I do not ask my mind (which says: you must study to be somebody) anymore where I should go. There are forms of learning and working far beyond rational activities. The right question is: where is my heart guiding me?
I am a poetess of dreamy nights and storyteller from the fires. I am a painter of the elusiveness and also of the ancient. I am a dancer whose body tells stories about the resurrected womanhood. I still have to reassure myself to not choose the way of comfort and acceptability.
To not acquiesce to the force of the crowd. To not reject the mask of naive frivolous freak and instead wear it with pride and love because underneath a real woman can live with unextinguishable eyes and trust in all dreams which hour after hour, day after day, year after year I sow again in different forms and then gather what grew… Because there is Freedom.
- written in April 2016; artistic photography Jan Vávra