"Having built a nice fire in our woodstove, I sat comfortably watching and listening to Chapter One. The slow pace is just right and the narrator's voice lets the poetry speak without sentimentality or piety. To see each of Henri van Bentum's mandalas in this context is very enhancing - seeing it in relation to the verse, and speculating on further meanings." Marina Bieler
Screen capture of Chapter One
[For direct access to the chapters, go to You Tube
and search for "BWEJ Poetry Frames"]
Henri van Bentum (1929-2022) wrote:
"To mark the 50th anniversary of "Organiverse", today we are happy to announce the launch of "A Journey Into the Organiverse With Tagore", a series of ten sequential video and audio chapters embracing one hundred mandalas and one hundred poems in total.
(The links to all ten chapters can be found at the end of this post.)
Each chapter features 10 mandalas from my “Organiverse” series of pointillist paintings created in 1972, and 10 poems by Rabindranath Tagore from his work “Gitanjali” (Song Offerings). In 1913, Tagore was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for "Gitanjali".
I would like to thank our friend, Brian W.E. Johnson, for his idea of pairing the two, and for his diligent work on producing the videos ("digital poetry frames") which he also narrates."
Gitanjali - Song 35
Henri van Bentum, 1929-2022
Words from the Artist about Organiverse
“While we are occupied with our daily existence, a great mystery takes place: Life, evolving in every form, from micro to the macro cosmos. Organiverse shares insights into this enigma called life, embracing art, science and ecology a timeless universalism of growth, evolution or genesis --- we have the microscope and telescope within, and an unknown destiny.
This work also embraces the interplay and relationship of colour. It is further a study in organic development. The invisible is made visible, through dots. All life has a beginning, be it the birth of a star, a cell, a whale, lichen, an oak tree, a mouse, and elephant or human being. All comes out of darkness the womb, the cosmic egg. Beyond darkness and ignorance there awaits Light and awakening.”
Background: "In the spring 1972, I began creating a set of 100 mandalas (paintings) and named the set The Organiverse Portfolio.
Organiverse is a meditation aid or 21st century kasina practice. (Kasinas are visual aids traditionally used in Buddhist practice.) The initial ten mandalas were done in Morocco, in the former Phoenician fishing village of Essaouira (Mogador), now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
But that summer of 1972, powerful winds were blowing off the Sahara. Sand found itself everywhere in my makeshift studio, located in the medina of the town. This was frustrating. One day out of the blue, I recalled a song from my childhood in the Lowlands: “Sunny Madeira, land of luscious green and flowers”, and I turned to my partner Natasha and said, “Let’s head to Madeira!”
So we set our compass in the direction of Madeira, a volcanic island located 800 nautical miles off the coast of Africa. This is where I completed the remaining 90 mandalas.
All 100 mandalas are done in pointillism, dot by dot, atom by atom. The original portfolio consists of twenty-five pages, each with four spherical paintings 8.5 cm in diameter.
This small cottage is a former cow shed located on the estate of Quinta Santo Antonio in Funchal, Madeira, where Organiverse was completed in 1972. (On the mountainous terrain of Madeira, cows used to be kept in sheds to prevent them tumbling down the slopes.)
The concept and production of this 50th anniversary project has been made possible by our friend Brian W.E. Johnson. He has been a steadfast supporter and patron of “Organiverse” for more than a decade."
Tips on viewing "A Journey Through The Organiverse With Tagore":
Slow is beautiful and good for healing. This journey is an unhurried and peaceful visual and audio experience.
Each chapter takes around 15-20 minutes to view. Ideally the chapters should be seen in sequence (chapters 1-10).
"Organiverse is a glimpse into the multilayered beauty of all that is life. These mandalas offer an opportunity for healing and for a heart-based understanding of who we are physically, emotionally and spiritually -- a dance of colour, form and contemplation."
(Dr. Mark Sherman, MDCM, CCFP)
"The poems (songs) of "Gitanjali" embody the essence of Tagore’s poetic spirit and devotion, conveying a deep connection to Nature. In 1913, Tagore was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for Gitanjali. Combined together, this fusion of Henri van Bentum’s artwork and the poetry of Rabindranath Tagore takes the viewer on a new journey of healing and insight." Natasha van Bentum
Here are the links to all ten chapters:
Chapter One - Mandalas 1-10
Chapter Two - Mandalas 11-20
Chapter Three - Mandalas 21-30
Chapter Four - Mandalas 31-40
Chapter Five - Mandalas 41-50
Chapter Six - Mandalas 51-60
Chapter Seven - Mandalas 61-70
Chapter Eight - Mandalas 71-80
Chapter Nine - Mandalas 81-90
Chapter Ten - Mandalas 91-100
"With appreciation also to my partner Natasha van Bentum,
who has been with me on the Organiverse journey since its inception fifty years ago."