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To Me

"While I didn't have the pleasure of meeting Dilmen, I feel that we have a powerful spiritual connection. Ever since I was a child, I would beg my father to tell me stories of my grandmother and her adventures. To me, she's always been this lawless creature who abided by her own rules at all times. As I grew older and started finding myself spiritually, she became a role model. In college, I was given the freedom to explore East-Asian Philosophies that were the bedrock for her way of living. The focus of my interests lay in Zen Buddhism and Taoism since a deeper understanding of Hinduism had somehow passed me by. I had been to India a long time ago, although I don't remember much aside from being captivated by the temples and spending NYE in a Kerala houseboat. That was until my father gifted me an old copy of the classic Indian epic: Mahabharata. It belonged to my grandmother.


Holding the book in my hand for the first time was something special. It was as if I was handling an ancient artifact. My father told me she used to carry it around everywhere. From then on, I became entranced in the lore, history, and spiritual significance of Hinduism. In my junior year of college, I decided to take a class on "Self, Society, Art in Hinduism," where we went into the other famous Indian epic, The Ramayana.  Every time I deepen my understanding, I feel that I am getting to know my grandmother a little more.

For this project, I wanted to share Dilmen's artwork, which has always been showcased beautifully around my home. The first painting of Krishna, for example, hangs just above my bed. Further, this was a great opportunity to understand Dilmen's story in detail and through multiple perspectives. My next wish is to return to India with the perspective I have now. Perhaps it will give way to my own journey..."


To Her Children


"I was born in 1965 and by the time I could make sense of the world around me, my mother’s personal revolution was in full flight. By then her art studio had migrated from the small room upstairs into the main living area of the house and I would arrive from school and hang out amongst paint, coloring pencils, calligraphy ink, needlepoint pens, large sheets of shiny papers, and blades and brushes. A world of wonder for a little girl like me. There were always people hanging out in our house, and always a vinyl record going around in the stereo system. At bedtime, I was sent to sleep to gentle tunes of Pink Floyd, King Crimson, and The Beatles coming from downstairs. 

She was very passionate and her mothering style wasn’t different. When she discovered eastern philosophy and meditation she wanted it to be a part of our lives, so my brother and I were often taken along on her journeys in India in search of sacred sites and holy men, to sit in silence in meditation retreats or play in the banks of the river Ganges. India was a turning point and shaped her forever. Her whole life became oriented towards self-knowledge and awareness of the nature of the mind with the daily practice of yoga and meditation that lasted until her last breath. Her experience with Yoga, Vipassana, Advaita Vedanta, and Buddhism brought her closer to nature. She became quieter, more self-contained, and dedicated to her art. Her work assumed a place of spiritual practice, a daily routine of diving into her creative imagination in order to find peace. I love her artwork. I loved it as a little girl, leaning over her table watching the scenes come alive while we chatted, and I love it now. The testimonies of her rich, profound, colorful inner world.

Being the child of such a wild spirit wasn’t the easiest of rides but it was well worth it. Her fearless attitude and her relentless search for self-truth is an inspiration and a guideline in my life."


"Being exposed to Eastern philosophy in my childhood was like a gift. Even though I still don't have the understanding and the maturity to understand it deeply, it was like she left a map for my ethical, spiritual, and intellectual development. In addition, the people I met through it, monks, rinpoches, and philosophy teachers, opened the door to another world that was not possible in Brazil in the seventies. Dilmen was far ahead of her time. Hinduism and its philosophy shaped my character and my worldview, as well as opening the door to Buddhism, Zen and quantum physics, to understand the world and humanity in a holistic and less selfish way. A view of the importance of doing the good in an altruistic way where all forms of life matter."

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