In 2017, Barnett was commissioned to create visual impressions of the Wu Xing, or 5 Elements of traditional Chinese medicine. He spent 2 years on and off collecting and photographing organic details in nature, according to the local seasons and cycles. The series now hangs in a functional medicine clinic in Cape Town, House of Holistic Health, as accompaniment to the various somatic treatments they offer.

This animated piece is a procession of the elements as guided by the cycles of the Wu Xing : WOOD, FIRE, EARTH, METAL, WATER. He initially made some short loops of the cycle for their website and gradually formed an extended piece with some added structures that was the perfect setting for ‘The Breath of life’ a growing collaboration with my friend the extraordinary songstress, Tallulah Rendall, who adds voice and singing bowl to the visuals with her rendition of the Gayatri Mantra.

Highly revered in Hindu myth, the Gayatri mantra was said to have been revealed directly by Source to the great Indian sage Maharshi Vishvamitra after lifetimes in deep meditation, upon his deep yearning to lift humanity from its pain and suffering. In later years the mantra became a dedication to Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music and art.

By combining African elements, Chinese medicinal philosophy and Vedic mantra with our own European ancestral routes, we are exploring a form of resonant alchemy as contribution to a world that is simultaneously experiencing collapse and rebirth.

Art wants to be an integral part of this journey. This period of intensity calls for inter-connecting moments of deep peace for our nervous systems in order to navigate our way through. A new form of heart language to reconnect to a quieter more humble service to the biosphere.

“When we connect with the image of the eternal soul in its magnitude, we can never again be so righteous about the corporeal expression of us, that has landed as if by pure fortitude, as a shared human experience…”
-Oliver Barnett

Tallulah Rendall – Voice and Singing Bowl
Oliver Barnett – Animated Photography

Thanks to House of Holistic Health for helping this happen