Paul Gauguin has asked once:
“D’où venons Nous
Que sommes Nous
Où allons Nous”
(Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?)
Today, I have a reason to celebrate. I know the answers to these questions. But celebrate, I shall not. Not yet.
The story behind this painting is quite painful.
Paul Gauguin went to Tahiti seeking for a truer life.
Then one day, he receives the distraught news. His daughter has died at the age of 20.
Thus, the deep contemplation of the artist emerges. He asks “Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?” on the canvas.
In his attempt to end his life, he climbed up into the mountains with a jar of arsenic, only to fail. He vomited the whole contents. He was left laying on the mountain for the whole day in terrible pain.
The creation of this famous painting coincides with his suicide attempt.
In the end, Gauguin died alone, in isolation, on his isolated island.
Looking at his dark painting born out of the distraught mind, I am boldly thinking, he just got it all wrong.
There is no sense of hope.
There is no love.
There is only aging.
Of course, this painting is not about the answers. This is about the questions. The answer does not lie in the artist. The answer is always bigger than the artist. Artists ask. Artists don’t command. If artists were made to rule the world, the world will see democracy like no other.
Artists follow one rule. It’s actually no rule at all. In fact, artists don’t follow.
Artists pursue the original instinct.
Don’t be a follower of an artist. The artist is no answer. He only lives the question though his art. And some lead pretty messy lives. Take the question he throws at you, but no more than that. Don’t fall in love an artist. You just might fall away with him.
But follow Christ. He’s so much safer than any artist.