The journey of contemporary artist Nadja Van Ghelue into the world of Japanese calligraphy started about twenty years ago when she was introduced into the practice of Zen calligraphy.
She herself explains:
“As a woman artist I always felt a deep bond with script and shodo gave me what I was looking for: Art as the finger that points to the absolute, as a skilful method of body-mind integration.
At the beginning I was captivated by the expressiveness of the characters. I studied the different styles of Chinese and Japanese Calligraphy and concentrated on the work of the old masters.
I slowly opened my eyes for the spiritual dimension of calligraphy. In Berlin I trained in Zen calligraphy based on the method of the Japanese masters Omori Sogen and Terayama Katsujo. In the Zen calligraphy sessions examples of genuine master calligraphers were used (Yamaoka Tesshu, Hakuin Ekaku, Torei Enji, Juin Onko). These artists showed me the writing from the heart, they taught me how to express myself freely and to flow in an unobstructed creative way. Through the writing from the heart I began to appreciate art as a direct practice that purifies the heart bringing one from the finite to the infinite.
Later, I became interested in Chinese and Japanese painting and I wanted to learn it. Japanese painting is the sister of Japanese calligraphy and they complement each other both regarding technique and vision.
Then, I met Tere Vila
Matas, a Barcelona based contemporary woman artist, who had studied painting with the late Korean painter Ung-No Lee. I spent some time in Barcelona working with her.
A very interesting part of Ung-No Lee’s teaching was that he encouraged Western artists not to limit Asian painting to the past by repeatedly copying the ancient masters. He wanted his students to have a solid knowledge of the ancient Asian painting and techniques, but at the same time, go beyond it and develop their own modern language.
Since then I have devoted myself to developing my own pictorial language. I am mainly a self-taught artist, and in ink painting my main inspiration is the marvelous work of the Chinese painters Wu Ch’ang-shuo, Ch’i Pai-shih and Chang Ta-ch’ien.
This unique art tradition of shodo and painting from the Far East has inspired me deeply as a woman artist. Today I feel very grateful to travel on the way of the brush. I invite you to see some of my calligraphies inspired on Buddhism and Zen at the Shodo Art Gallery, and my paintings at the Japanese painting Gallery.
| Japanese calligraphy home | Shodo Art Gallery |
| Buddhist Scrolls Gallery |
| Kanji Art Gallery | Artist interview |
| Sutra copying | Heart sutra in Japanese |
| Kanji symbols | Inspirational kanji t-shirts | Martial arts t-shirts |