Narratives Behind the Pieces
“Buddha & Mara" 16x20. Acrylic on canvas.
Love this piece because of the self-compassion that arises when I look at each half on its own and the piece as a whole. Peace from Buddha, fire from Mara. I hope that those who take the piece in can hold space for both the Mara and Buddha in themselves.
As the story goes...
Buddha sat under a Bodhi tree on the night he reached final enlightenment. Mara, demonic king and god of shadow in Buddhism, attempted to distract Buddha from his spiritual quest. Mara wanted Buddha to become a business man, politician, king, or wealthy with money and women. Knowing this night may be the night the Buddha became Buddha, Mara shot arrows of anger, jealousy, greed, self-doubt, and lust at Buddha. As the arrows flew, Buddha adorned each arrow with compassion and kind attention. As each arrow was met with this compassion, the arrows turned into flowers. By the morning, Buddha was surrounded with an ocean of flowers. Mara had failed.
Every now and then, Mara would come to the Bodhi tree and listen to Buddha's teachings. When Buddha saw Mara, instead of fighting Mara, Buddha would say, "I see you, Mara" and invited Mara to have tea.
How do we approach our demons? With resistance, curiosity, kindness?
"Mara is not very pleasant, but if you know how to help Mara, to transform Mara, Mara will become Buddha. If you don’t know how to take care of the Buddha, Buddha will become Mara. Buddha and Mara are also organic, and they need each other. It is thanks to the difficulties, thanks to the temptations, that the Buddha has overcome his suffering and his ignorance and become a fully enlightened being.
i go to the woods when the rest of the world feels heavy
i return to the canvas when the woods remind me
to keep seeking
to let go
I figured some of you may be curious about the sacred geometry -
I blended an icosahedron with the merkaba. The icosahedron represents flow, movement, and trust in the universe. It's connected to the water element and the sacral chakra, and ya know I love me some sacral chakra work. The Merkaba - Mer=light, Ka=spirit and Ba=Body --> union of spirit with the body, surrounded by light. Also represents a divine vehicle/chariot that allows for interdimensional journeying
“they sought true freedom”
2021. 16x20. Acrylic.
Jared’s 2 year death anniversary was on Dec 12th. My birthday was on Dec 17th. This time of year will forever be a potent time to grieve and give gratitude for the gift of life and love.
I had a hard time captioning this painting. What a coincidence is it that while I was brainstorming captions, one of Jared’s best friends texted me some words of wisdom. I read the text, bawled like a baby, went back to brainstorming, and immediately saw the overlap between the words I had just read and the painting’s message. His words:
“He always talked about all the things you were doing. He saw your potential even if you didn’t, and he knew where you were headed in life, and he wasn’t so certain about his. He obviously wanted you, but at the same time didn’t think he was good enough in order for you to keep climbing. He never would’ve known what he meant to you the way he did after passing. And as much as we hate it, not everyone is meant to be in our lives forever. Sometimes the lessons we learn aren’t the ones we want. You need someone who is gonna challenge you (in a healthy way) to keep growing mentally, physically, and in your art. You owe that to yourself, and he understands.”
Sometimes, the messages in my paintings don’t fully reveal themselves to me until years later. Art gives the subconscious a voice, it's all a mysterious process. I’ve talked to a few of you about how I’ve felt like I’ve needed to dim my light in certain situations recently, to which most of you say, “Fuck that, Bini.” Without exposing my process too much, I will say I’m learning to embrace my light and finding others who feed my fire, just as Jared would want me to
16x20. Acrylic. Sold.
Mailing this little beauty off soon...
Departing from any piece inspired by my relationship with Jared is always a tough, emotional experience, but this is life’s practice of letting go. It’s comforting to know that the love we shared, and the art that pours out of it, stirs the spirit of others in some way
Coloring about ya
It has been a year since you passed, sweet Jared. Today was a heavy day, but you’ve taught me how to connect with that which is beyond this physical realm for strength and wisdom
Deep, deep pain for a deep, deep love.
"Head up" acrylic & sharpie on canvas.
Driving and listening to Tupac's "keep ya head up" one day, and an image of a blue-tinted Black woman looking up at the sun came. Sun represents God/hope
One of my favorite pieces in my Sacred Playground art collection.
Resting with, trusting in, and guided by the Universe.
Painting about ya.
If I were to ask Jared, “What am I supposed to do now, without you?” He’d say, “Create.” He'd tell me to write, sing, and paint about it authentically and fearlessly.
The plan was to move to Columbia for grad school, get my phd, and leave. Didn't think I’d end up falling in love with a young, passionate, visionary of an artist who'd remind me of my gifts and stress the importance of practicing them in the name of true freedom. Even though the last month has been emotionally chaotic, it has also been deeply grounding. In a weird mystical way, I feel like Jared is more a part of me now than ever. Also comforting to know he will always be a part of my rededication to my artistic self.
Piece on the left is self-explanatory Piece on the right is titled "Remembering" - remembering my core self, a process that Jared ignited.
December 27th 2019
I've been working on this painting over the last few days, inspired by a recent visit from Jared Merideth in a dream. His angelic presence wrapped my earthly, emotional being with his wings of protection and light
Gratitude to everyone who has offered love and a space to grieve over the last few weeks Particularly, thank you to those of you who allow me access to pieces of Jared's blessed soul, especially Terron ßeverly. Feeling heavy, yet very supported these days
December 8th 2019
One of the most meaningful experiences of my life. Led a painting workshop for a self-love camp for women & integrated my identities as a counseling psych student and visual artist. Focusing on the parallels between the psyche and the natural world, we started with a meditation on archetypes of the forests, stars, and mountains and then created acrylic manifestations of our visions of healing. This experience illuminated one of the many reasons why I am on earth. Thank you, Universe, and thank you Tamara for inviting me to lead this workshop #integration
O'Shea and his baby girl, India, in a piece titled, "A Father's Universe." O'Shea is one of the most talented rappers I know and one of Jared's best friends. When I told O'Shea I wanted to paint him with India, he said sure, as long as I plug Grem-Mob. Wasn't surprised by this request - that's how all of them are.
O'Shea - Jared and I talked about you more often than you'd think. I remember one night around this time of year, he was telling me how important it was for him to see you succeed. I've never heard anyone talk about their friend/brother like he talked about you. It's like he spoke his words into the ether, hoping they would land in your mind, body, and spirit.
Jared had a way of seeing things in us that we did not see in ourselves, and he would feed it. He pushed us to embark on seemingly impossible treks. O'Shea told me recently that sometimes he thinks, "What would Jared say about this?" I felt that. Since Jared passed, I don't know how many times I've thought to myself, "What would Jared want me to do here?" His spirit lives strong in many of us.