Every encounter has its meaning. (Buddhist proverb)
Buddhists believe that everyone we encounter in our life is someone that we were supposed to meet, and every place we live in or visit is somewhere destiny has foreseen us to be.
As modern nomads, diplomatic families live in more different places and meet more people than the average person. Although the life of a diplomat is widely associated with glitz and glamor, the images of pin-striped-suited diplomats sipping expensive cocktails at extravagant parties, or their families living in elegant villas with swimming pools and servants, reflect at best a tiny part of its reality.
The real picture is less glamorous: most diplomats are hard working public servants, doing their work far away from their home countries; They produce and push around a lot of paper day in and day out, hoping to make a difference towards international cooperation and understanding. Their spouses and children, being uprooted every couple of years, follow them to every edge of the planet. Arriving at and becoming familiar with a new post, knowing nobody in the city is an enormous challenge, but also a unique opportunity to meet people, some of whom share common interests and are in the same situation.
It so happened that a number of German diplomats and accompanying spouses, who share a common interest for painting, met together last year in Brussels; they decided to start an art group for exchanging ideas regularly and inspiring each other to paint. That was the beginning of “The Brussels Circle of Diplomatic Artists”. Their first exhibition held in May 2016 was titled “ Expressing Impressions” The next, in may 2017 is “Brussels Inspirations”.
The works of the participating artists express their impressions and emotions with expressive colors, forms, symbols as well as music; they reflect their memories, adventures and experiences collected from different countries, different cultures and unforgettable encounters. Here I’d like to quote some of the group members words “my life is like a kaleidoscope: beautiful and never boring”, ”my works express how I see, feel and experience the world“, “My paintings mostly reflect inspirations gathered during my postings abroad or the landscape of my native region in Germany where I grew up “, “my work represents the diverse stages of my life in countries around the globe in a positive attitude and colorful way“, “I discovered painting as a means of releasing emotions… it mirrors my soul”, “Painting, for me, is to make the emotion touchable, is to make the space and the time in my traveling life visible. It is my language, my secret code of documenting my memories, which I can return to at any time“.
Besides the downsides of the diplomatic life, there are surely many upsides we must acknowledge. Being able to live in different cultures and different countries is certainly enriching and inspiring; all the artists in this group have cherished this opportunity and used it as inspiration for their creative work. Henri Matisse said “creativity takes courage”, we see Brussels as an encouragement and a promise.
We would like to thank ING bank, Welcome to Brussels, Atelier29, Commissioner Brussels and Your Way for their generous support and cooperation. We look forward to a successful exhibition and a creative encounter.
Dr. Jasmin Gong-Fleischer