Inner Grace, Palermo
watercolor on Arches paper
copyright © Sophia Khan
In Italy, time graces place with meaning. What was once a pagan temple, later becomes a church. What was once a private palace, now opens its doors as a museum. Other places and monuments stand the 'test of time' being firmly grounded in their original functions as cathedrals or amphitheaters, and such; the weathering of their stones being what gives them the mark of time.
Maybe we travel to places with layers of history, to know all of us; all of what makes us who we are including our own past, who we are now, and what we seek for our futures. Yes, we travel for adventure, to escape from our everyday, but at the same time there is perhaps an underlying calling that guides where we end up going. There is perhaps something more than beauty that invites us to the scenery we peruse online or in magazines as possible travel destinations.
One of my trips to Italy was dedicated solely to visiting Palermo. Why Palermo, you might ask. The layering of course. Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Norman; so many diverse cultures settled and ruled this prime location. The resulting Architecture is a unique layering of the various styles each brought with them. And this being something I could relate to as a reflection of myself.
One of the places I had come upon during this trip was the Regional Archaeological Museum of Palermo, which was originally a monastery. Its courtyards were one of the most beautiful I have seen in all my travels. Although I must admit, it's hard to come across a courtyard that is not inviting. I've written before on how I see courtyards symbolically as 'containers' of our desires, hopes, and dreams. As such one can see them as centers. Centers of our innermost cores.
Each of the two courtyards contain a central pond accented by a sculpture. One courtyard is graced with a sculpture of Triton. The other, with that of an angel. I found the angel quite fitting to the original use of the space as a monastic complex.
I love the idea of archaeological remnants of the past carefully displayed in the halls and rooms of a space whose function has evolved over time. And I hope that my painting conveys some of the grace, elegance, and inner calm that emits from this beautiful space layered with meaning, layered with time.
Have you encountered a place during your own travels that has changed in its use, in a way that gives it new meaning. One that stood out from the rest, and remains memorable to you as it now stands. Or perhaps like me, you have traveled somewhere that you find is reflective of who you are. I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments below, if you are so inclined to share....
And if you would enjoy 'Inner Grace' for your own home, or that of a loved one, Limited Edition prints are available here and the Original Watercolor is available here.
Wishing you much grace, beauty, and wonder in your current surroundings and wherever else you many wander be it in travel, in memory, or in longing,
(this post first appeared on my online diary on 5/9/14)