Nirvi Bennich shows her paintings in our virtual Art Gallery and says, “I am feeling so lucky for having been part of Meera’s creativity for so many years – now I feel I can include both Meera’s influence and what I learned in Art School.”
Meeting with Meera after years of study in Art School gave me a new flame of creative enthusiasm. In her, I met somebody with guts, following her own truth, fearlessly giving expression to it. This was scary and yet immensely attractive. I loved her ‘yes to life’ and the totality of her involvement in Osho’s work. A voice inside of me said, “Follow this woman!”
To paint amid the jungle nature of the Osho Meditation Resort in Pune has been so inspiring for me: strong nature, sunlight, and big contrasts of light and darkness.
The morning light, as in ‘Morning at the Bamboos’, had a special feeling. At that time, early in the day, the Resort was still, silent and fresh. I loved that space!
Just now, I am feeling so lucky and touched for having been part of Meera’s creativity for so many years. I took part in many of her trainings and later as an assistant. It has been a very special and unique time.
The painting ‘Brown Trees’ has an interesting history, arising from the uniqueness and spark that Meera gave me. A workshop called ‘Primal Painting’ is at the root of her trainings, helping people go back to the child space where creativity started and often got blocked. Children can easily go back to a ‘brown muddy space’ in painting, which can become the womb of many different kinds of free expression. I am familiar with this in my work when painting with kids, but it took me many years to allow myself to enjoy this state of ‘brown chocolate mud’.
A breakthrough happened in one of Meera’s groups, when she invited us to throw many different colours onto the paper. After a while, inevitably, the whole thing turned into an ugly brown muddy mass. I had such a resistance to those muddy colours. But out of the mud we learned a new kind of creativity, allowing abstract forms to appear from inside our paintings, growing spontaneously in shape and form, layer upon layer. Then I got the point and later on welcomed the opportunity to paint brown trees instead of the usual bright greenery. I was looking for the beauty in ‘chocolate brown colours’ and Meera smiled when she saw what I’d done. Since then, I have felt more at ease with nature painting.
During one of the Master Painter trainings, I painted ‘Magical Night’.
At the time, Meera was inviting us to paint day and night. Here, the instruction was to paint watercolour on top of acrylic and ink – “It will be so exciting, because you don’t know where you will go! It will be magic!” said Meera, giggling.
So, we brought the paintings to the pathway around Buddha Grove, after the Evening Meeting, and sat for hours in darkness, painting in candle light. All went well, until I met two eyes looking at me from among the plants and shadows. It took me a while to realize that it was a rat! So, at that point, I ran away!
To mix acrylic paint, inks and watercolour has been an exciting medium, which I have continued to explore. Actually, with the watercolour on top, some of the paint will not really ‘bite’, because of the different elements, and this creates an unexpected effect. I kept on experimenting with this, as can be seen in my painting ‘Shadows on a Wall in Pune’.
Lately, I have started to include people in my paintings. I feel drawn to paint people in daily situations, like ‘Morning in Gludsted’ and ‘Lawnmower’. In this way, I feel I can include both Meera’s influence and what I learned in Art School, years ago, in Sweden.
I still mix many materials to see what happens. To add lots of water is one approach that I always enjoy.
And while I do so, Meera is always in my heart.
Nirvi Bennich grew up in the South of Sweden. In her 20s she studied art in Stockholm. During this time she came in contact with Osho’s sannyasins and it became a turning point in her life. In 1982 she took sannyas and this was the start of many adventures with Osho, in both Oregon and India. Today she lives at the Osho Risk meditation centre in Denmark and leads painting workshops throughout Scandinavia. nirvi.dk