To accompany our current exhibition ‘Infinitas Gracias: Mexican miracle paintings‘, we’ve been working with professional illustrators to produce contemporary votive illustrations based on stories submitted by visitors to Wellcome Collection and to our website. Just as Mexican ex-voto paintings were made by painters to tell stories of thanks, we want to hear contemporary stories of gratitude and explore the process of exchange between storyteller and illustrator.
Marta Wawryszuk’s latest illustration is for this story:
I want to give thanks, for I found my love in a tree. This wasn’t any kind of tree. I had been visiting this tree for years. I came to it regularly. I asked it its name once and she told me she was called Aurora. I asked it to draw towards me my heart’s true desire. I told it that my heart’s desire is not even known to me… will it be a passion for painting? Will it be devotion to a service to help someone or something in the world? Will it be a love, someone to journey the worlds with?
After many journeys, many loves, many countries, many causes, I came back to London, feeling the most content I can ever remember. I went to bed that night and dreamt of a glass house in the middle of a desert. The house had its doors missing, open to the elements. I was sitting inside the glass house with a piano and this tree. It was speaking to me, telling me that love and miracles were waiting for those who trust in the invulnerability of open-hearted love. The next day, I decided to visit Aurora. I felt something calling in me. I felt an energy that can only be described as hyper-real, as if all the colours and sounds around were oscillating through me. A man passed me in the street, he was a traveller. He stopped to ask me, ‘Are you in Love?’ I replied, ‘With everything!’ He said his name was Skywalker and that he had secrets to share but only for when I was ready, which would be in a few minutes’ time and that I should contact him after tomorrow, maybe, or some time in the future, whenever it felt right, whenever I knew…
Perplexed and curious, I carried on walking towards my tree. As I rounded the corner I got stunned. I saw the back of a man sitting in her branches. He was reading a book: The Kybalion. I had never met this man before, but as soon as ours eyes met, lifetimes passed between us. He told me of a dream he had about a dog called Kaplan, who led him to the tree, the miracle of his journey across an ocean to get here, the trust he placed into Life to get him closer to his true heart’s desire… It brought him to sit in this tree and told him to wait. He showed me the inside cover of his book. There was a drawing of two glass doors, side by side, revolving on pivots, spun by the wind in the middle of a vast desert. I recognised it instantly from my dream, the doors of the glass house.
Later that week I contacted Skywalker and I told him I was ready. He told me that on another plane of existence, very similar to this one, I live with a magic desert man who plays piano and sings to the wind. His songs are carried around the world, inspiring many minds. He told me that my heart’s desire unlocks by the way he looks at me, for through his eyes I see my own limitlessness. We do many good things for us and others in this realm and these creations filter back to Earth and are imbued in many of the happenings that we call miracles and magic. Skywalker told me that we are doing this all the time, ALL of us. That the love we find in every dimension comes to remind us of our connection throughout the planes to all beings, all Life, and that this connection with the desert man is one of the strongest bonds ever created across the planes. It is one that knows no limit and benefits everyone that encounters it.
After meeting my love in a tree and reading Skywalker’s bizarre tale I believed in miracles, for everything that happened and that Skywalker wrote was what I have always known in my heart. The world is magic and true Love is real. Trust and deep thanks is given to this miracle. I recount the story and I can’t even believe it. The desert man’s name is Ramzy Suleiman. We have been spinning Love together ever since.
Dannii Evans, London, October 2011. For Aurora.
Could your gratitude inspire a votive? Tell us your story, and it could form the basis for an illustration.