Season of Ubuntu (part 1)

It’s Season of Ubuntu over at Get Messy. If, like me, you have never heard of this beautiful term before, it’s to do with the essential human qualities of compassion and humanity. This quote by Nelson Mandela sums up what Ubuntu is all about:

‘In Africa there is a concept known as ‘ubuntu’ – the profound sense that we are human only through the humanity of others; that if we are to accomplish anything in this world it will in equal measure be due to the work and achievement of others.’

The journal I am using for Season of Ubuntu is made from the covers of a box of Cook’s Matches.

Each season this year at Get Messy we are working in a different kind of journal. This time round, it’s tiny journals. Tiny could mean anything from smaller than you would usually use down to an inch or smaller!  If I hadn’t taken part in the #oneinchwonders2018 challenge this summer, I might be really daunted. Instead, I feel now like I have loads of room!

The title page and the one above were inspired by a wonderful brush lettering tutorial with Alicia Schultz ! The quote is by yours truly, although I’m sure someone must have said this before!

Just a few days ago, the Messy Marks class with Torrie Lynn (aka Fox + Hazel) was released at Get Messy. Combining mark-making with the theme of the Season of Ubuntu is having some surprising results!

Mark-making has always seemed like a mysterious language to me. I can say ‘hello’ and ‘cup of tea’ but that’s about it! In this class, Torrie is introducing us to a rich and varied vocabulary of marks with so many incredible ways to make them our own.

Photo 07-10-2018, 20 27 53

Where are we going? – This page came out of a warm-up exercise in the Messy Marks class. When I was done, the lines I had made reminded me of a map. I have been wondering lately “where am I going?” When I thought of the theme of shared humanity and community, the question changed to “where are we going?” This feels like a very different question.

The letters are almost lost against the background but I didn’t want to make them bolder because it feels like the question is part of the territory.


Your joy makes my life richer —  Here I enjoyed bringing together a few of the different kinds of marks we have been learning about in the class. I can’t get enough of scribbles, dots, and dashes!

Working with marks is a more abstract approach than I usually adopt and I am loving it. Mark-making takes me into a more intuitive way of making art which somehow feels very suited to the theme of Ubuntu– coming out of the smaller, more personal world into the larger world and a sense of community.

Photo 08-10-2018, 20 34 25

This page was inspired by a quote from one of my favourite Rumi poems:

‘Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’
doesn’t make any sense.
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.’

I am really enjoying this season of far. There’s something very freeing about working within certain constraints. The theme of Ubuntu, combined with a mark-making approach, all within a tiny journal – all this is taking me into new ways of making art!

As well as inspiring me with her Messy Marks class, Torrie has also created an amazing series of tiny art journals. If you want to see just how much is possible within such a small format, I urge you to check out her beautiful work!

5 Replies to “Season of Ubuntu (part 1)”

  1. Interesting synchronicity, Divyam, this very weekend I took a workshop with a woman who leads songcircles in the tradition of Ubuntu.

    Love your journal. Barbara Eureka, CA


    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s