Archive for April 24th, 2022

Dona Nobis Pacem

GC Myers- Dona Nobis Pacem

Dona Nobis Pacem– Coming to the Principle Gallery, June

Praise be to God I’m not good,
And have the natural egotism of flowers
And rivers following their bed
Preoccupied without knowing it
Only with blooming and flowing.
This is the only mission in the World,
This—to exist clearly,
And to know how to do it without thinking about it.

― Alberto Caeiro, The Keeper of Sheep

Time for some Sunday morning music and while getting it around, I came across the lines above from  Alberto Caiero, a poet of which I had never heard. It turns out that he is the creation of the Portuguese poet, Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) who I have talked about here before.

Pessoa, who died from cirrhosis at a relatively young age, is considered one of the giants of Portuguese literature and poetry. One of the more interesting aspects of his work is that he assumed and wrote under many different names. But these were not simply pseudonyms, were not just different names. No, they were mostly different personas as well. He termed them as heteronyms. In fact there is a list of over 80 of these heteronyms that he employed over his relatively short life.

Each had a distinct voice. Caiero was one of Pessoa’s voices. Described as being born in Lisbon in 1889,  having blond hair and blue eyes, and being the author of bucolic poems about sheep and shepherds. I believe Pessoa had him dying from tuberculosis in 1915, one year after Pessoa had written about 30 Caiero poems in a mad rush for the book The Keeper of Sheep.

I thought the lines above from Caiero described the sort of metaphysical peacefulness that many people seek– to simply be, without having to think about it, without fears or worries. Just to exist, alive and in peace.

I think that is what a lot of my work is about– finding that place or feeling or time that allows us to be in a state of peace, even if only for the moment. I know that the new work for my June show at the Principle Gallery is focused on finding these small bits of momentary tranquility.

An example is at the top, a new 12″ by 24″ canvas that I am calling Dona Nobis Pacem which translates as Give Us Peace. I am using a chaotic sky in this piece, and several others in this show, to represent the turbulence and uncertainty that threatens our peacefulness. The rising sun and its light represent a contrasting counterpoint, with certainty in its movements and providing light and heat and energy for us.

For this week’s musical selection, I am going with contemporary Max Richter and his take on Dona Nobis Pacem, which is from the Agnus Dei, the liturgical texts sung or said performed during the Catholic communion rites. This version of Richter’s Dona Nobis Pacem 2 is performed by Canadian violinist Angele Dubeau and La Pieta.

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