Bezalel-Finding our artistic heritage

I’ve written before about searching for my artistic heritage in a cross-generational, cross-cultural personal history and how recently I’ve come to see Bezalel as my artistic ancestor and inspiration. As an artist, there are certain themes and symbols that are recurring and others that evolve along the way, building upon past experiences and knowledge collected along the way.

A recurring image for me is the Ko’olau. I love when traffic is slow coming down the Likelike because I can open my window and look up at the crags and see what is in bloom. I love waking up in the morning and looking out my bedroom window and figuring out the weather for the day. I love sitting down at my drawing table and looking out the glass doors up to the ridges and peaks leading up to H3. That’s the mountain and anchor inside me.

Bezalel, the first artist named in the Bible, was called by name and chosen to lead the work that God commanded Moses to create and build according to his description. It was a design spec for creating a new religion complete with clothing for the priests, articles for their rituals, the architecture of the meeting place and it required a biblical Michelangelo to pull it off. It also required willing and skilled workers as well as willing and generous donors to make it reality. Bezalel, although skilled and gifted, was also gifted with the ability to teach others. When all was completed, Moses inspected and approved and used all the work of Bezalel and his workshop to join the people closer to their living God.

The most satisfying projects I have worked on have been like Wahi Pana and Chemistry of Water–when I get use practice my social activism to bring different people together for exchanges and to meet and learn from experts in their chosen fields. I like to imagine Bezalel at work and that is the artistic lineage I draw from within me across the generations and continents that links me all the way back to him, and beyond him to the cave painters, and beyond them to God the artist and original Creator of all things.