2022/08/16

Henri van Bentum, Memorial Gathering, August 13th, 2022 -- some words from Brian W.E. Johnson




Henri van Bentum
1929 - 2022

Introduction from Natasha:  Henri's memorial was held on August 13th (his birthday).  Over the next few weeks, we'll be publishing a few of the speeches given by guests at the gathering. 

We begin with Henri's close friend here in Victoria, BC, Brian W.E. Johnson.  Brian collaborated with Henri on several projects in connection with van Bentum's "Organiverse" series of 100 mandalas, most recently a video project with poems and songs by Rabindranath Tagore, including "Gitanjali" and "Fruit Gathering".

On Henri van Bentum, by Brian W.E. Johnson

“There has been much said already, with eloquence and clarity, about the breadth and scope of Henri’s interests and activities, and his life’s experience. It is amazing.

I would like to complement some these Macro considerations with some micro mentions. So here are some personal observations and reflections:

Today is Henri’s birthday, and he was born under the Astrology sun sign of “Leo” with a strong Pisces influence. The sign of Leo has “Royal” associations and Henri surely displayed these qualities.

Henri was the main character in this theatre production, and the rest of us are the cast extras, hanging about and tending to his royal Leo highness.

In the real world of the body politic, royal power is borne of the sceptre, representing temporal power in the kingdom. Royalty are feared and respected because of this.

However, in the case of Henri van Bentum, it is not the power of the sceptre and the royal army, but rather, an unusually sensitive and receptive presence that somehow casts a regal-like aura.

Henri lived with enhanced fluid sensitivity, especially to colour, nuances of form, shades and combinations… and, in addition to paying careful attention to detail, Henri embodied an expanded, or perhaps better said, an unblemished sense of wonder.

These combinations and receptive qualities help to explain how and why Henri would often enhance situations and people simply by his presence, and this in turn, would inspire creativity and highlight beauty, in many diverse situations.

Henri and I collaborated on several initiatives, most recently a video project that displays his outstanding Organiverse mandalas in tandem with the poetic verse of “Gitanjali” written by Rabindranath Tagore.


The following is Tagore’s poem #96 in this series:

"WHEN I GO from hence let this be my parting word, that what I have seen is unsurpassable.

I have tasted of the hidden honey of this lotus that expands on the ocean of light, and thus am I blessed - let this be my parting word.

In this playhouse of infinite forms, I have had my play and here have I caught sight of him that is formless.

My whole body and my limbs have thrilled with his touch who is beyond touch; and if the end comes here, let it come - let this be my parting word."

Rabindranath Tagore, "Gitanjali"


Henri van Bentum, left with Brian W.E. Johnson
August 13, 2010, at Sidney pier

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You are invited to visit  "Remembering Henri van Bentum", a new landing page

featuring several existing, and legacy projects. 








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