A poem in honour of Henri van Bentum

The Experience of Being 
for Henri van Bentum

Some of us glance up at the sky, 
secretly wishing to become spectacular 
like the speechless and faraway stars. 

Few of us have peered so deeply 
within ourselves that the universe emerges 
and we become the spectacular star. 

Our friend and loved one, 
Henri, is one of those few. 

His life-calling found him 
in his twenties, explorer of mysteries, 
and by thirty, painter of the ineffable. 

He dedicated himself to abstract works 
which evoke time and space, 
even a melodic air, or a vibration, 

Or an internal response and reaction–– 
landscapes transmuted into mindscapes. 
Always connections–– 
always love. 

Henri’s deep spiritual journey brought 
him to a mastery of being–– 
alive to the here and now–– 
wherever he is, whatever he does, 
and with whomever he meets. 

Is there a country on this planet 
where Henri’s feet have not trod? 

He and Natasha travelled vastly, 
often on a shoestring, 
while he created his mindscapes,
taught art to hundreds of students, and 
circumnavigated the Earth 
on several occasions. 

The intensity in Henri’s eyes–– 
the luminescence in his works–– 
are grounded in inner intuition 
and a visionary knowledge of being. 

The great circle of Henri’s remarkable 
life led him to his magnum opus, 
the 100-mandala set called "Organiverse". 

When we immerse ourselves in 
this cosmos of sequential images, 
we see the universe emerge 
in front of our eyes. 

It takes form, it evolves, 
it experiments, it creates 
organic shapes, throbs, vibrations, 

Atom by atom, dot by dot–– 
each minute point relates 
to all other points
in each of the one hundred mandalas.

Small-is-beautiful universes, 
as the dot-atoms evolve and swirl,
flex and dance, in Henri’s words, 
“To infinity and beyond, 
in both directions, 
the micro and macro cosmos.” 

Images in the Starry Night edition
of Organiverse are found 
to mirror astronomical photographs by 
the Chandra X-Ray Observatory; 
videos set these images in motion. 

We have had the great good fortune
to count Henri van Bentum 
as our dear friend and loved one.

Thank you, Henri, for your genius, 
your artwork, your friendship, 
and for your legacy of love to the world. 

Linda Stryker, Arizona