Josaia McNamara is Artist in Residence, Oceania Centre for Arts and Culture, University of the South Pacific
The essence of my being is formulated from three basic principles; my culture, religious belief, and spirituality.
My existence, how I think, feel and behave is my culture. If you go deep into the roots of a particular culture you see that it is universal. Culture comes from a particular cult that existed at a certain time and has been built from there. It is not a tangible thing; it is wide and integrated in the world itself. In the changing world we adapt to the change and grow onto another level of the human experience. This affects our culture, it draws from those before and adapts to our lives today. We can express our cultural values individually but as humans we share certain core values. Individual cultural values are rooted in where you are born; where I was born is part of who I am. Therefore my style of art is influenced by my cultural formation and makes me part of the Fijian and Oceanic communities. I am a proud Fijian because I understand my culture.
My religious belief has two parts. The first is cultural religious belief practiced by my ancestors. I learned about these rituals by living in villages. Certain elements exist today: sects of people, chiefs, priests, and warriors. Sacrifice is fundamental to these cultural religious practices, sacrifices based on nature; such as the offering of Tabua, Yaqona and herbs to the elders of the father of a new born life. This cultural religion is breaking apart because people are going to new religions brought over by the missionaries. I saw both of these religions as I was growing up, because I went to a Catholic school and was baptised as a Catholic. I developed as a Catholic, over the years accepting the sacraments. There are no boundaries between my religious beliefs. Although these religions are seen as separate, I believe that there is fusion between these two religions.
Spiritual journeys depend on an individual’s knowledge of the existence of the unseen. This knowledge does not come on its own: the master will come when the student is ready. This is how my spiritual journey has developed; the master always comes when he knows that I am ready. I believe that every being has spirituality, but we are born into one life and it depends on the individual how they live that life. We should know where we come from and where we are going. To me, spirituality is universal; it is part of you and me and the whole universe. Spirituality is not limited to nature; it exists in all things. While much of spirituality remains unseen, something that can be seen is the strength of family. It is the root of all humanity. For me, see my family first and venture into the wider world.These principles are part of a transformation of the world. My art is a testimony to these transformations. My art also speaks of gathering knowledge and enlightening your mind because that is who you are as a being. How I think and feel is what I am going to paint because that is part of who I am. My painting speaks to how and why I exist. Everything comes into existence for a reason and my art form is part of a universal vision.
I believe that humans strive for perfection; however it is limited for us. This perfection can be found in the unseen world. As an artist I strive for perfection, you will see that in my styles. My basic principle of existence is the formation in my being expressed visually; to communicate to my audience that it exists in them too. I believe that other people deeply rooted in their own culture, religion and spirituality will see and sense those ideas that I am expressing.
The Sacred Foundation
Oil on canvas, 2006
If we were to look deeply into the whole of life we will find that it is sacred. Sacredness is a quality of the spirit and the spirit is the quality of the things unseen by human eyes. The human eye is the window to the soul and the soul that is enlightened… knows the enlighten things of the spirit and in the spirit enlightens us. To know and speak of the unseen things. To be learnt in knowledge is the lessen of a thinker on moral subjects but to be enlightened in wisdom is the lessen of the spirit on immoral subjects. The crude formation of this material world, consists of opposites, as witnessed by our human eyes… as in darkness and light and in many related opposites. The whole essence of creation in its opposites… is manifested in the human person. We are the vessels of creation… made crude for the spiritual. To be seen for the unseen… so that the unseen may be seen through faith and faith is the willpower of the spirit, a living fountain of a quicken Soul.
The Eyes of the Star Compass
Oil on canvas, 2001
Things around us, has been laid accordingly, for an ordained purpose.
We cannot deny our mortality and the moral codes within the realms of our universe.
Man is a subject to sciences in order to know what’s around him, by knowing these things, he explores in oceans like a sailor…into a world unimaginable to the human experience.
But yet made believable in faith to his understanding.
Man has three major beings, alive and infused in him, which is his mortal body, the second is his astral body, and the third is his spiritual body.
But yet this three states, is a single entity, for the formation and the evolution of history and creation.
Without the spirit the astral body cannot be enlightened and without the astral body the physical body cannot be alive.
A quickened body and soul is the one that is living a holistic life. What does living this holistic life mean! But to be enliven and enlightened by the spirit of life.
Man is the gateway to his sole destiny…his destiny is the foundation of his being, within his being lies the Star Compass, that reveals and directs his path on Earth, towards the higher planes in heaven.
Man by his mortal body has the capacity to travel by man made vehicles within a limited range in his Solar system and his astral body has the capacity to astral travel within his Galaxy in a limited space and time because of the life span of his mortal body.
But his spiritual body has the power and capacity to travel to unlimited regions, where he finds absolute perfection in the Author and Creator of all life.
Because he is the image of his maker…in Body, Soul and Spirit. He is the sign of the Trinity figure.
Hidden in the Body and crucified in the Soul, risen in the Spirit. He is the Christ hidden in the Mutable cross, he is the Christ crucified in the Fixed cross and he is the same Christ risen in the Cardinal cross.
In all this, he is the single entity, of the realization of the ever-present living God.
The Birth Vibration
Oil on canvas, 2002
The beauty of the world is in the eyes of the beholder and the beholder is the one who sees it in his soul, for the soul is the gateway to the unseen things… things that are revealed only to an enlightened soul.
Man may wonder about the causes of things, but cannot fully understand its mystery. For a mystery is a certain revelation that only the eye of the soul can sense, understand and taste. For all mortals have their reflection in the spirit world; the immortality of the real things… but not actualized yet. They were created only in crude form… so that its substances may be rebirth-ed back to its originals.
The music of the heavens composes its sounds and the whole of creation hears its elegant voice. For life is an unending cycle of regeneration from birth to death to rebirth.
The purifying processes is made whole when the heavenly Man rejoices in all that he has made… for the beginnings has no origin, it is an unbroken circle… a rhythm of perfection known only to him Who reflects his own power and glory…. for He alone is the author and creator of all things seen and unseen.