Swans reflecting Elephants Finding God in unexpected places.

With Sian Yates

This painting was created by the Spanish artist Salvador Dali in 1936 and is painted using oil paint on canvas.

I wonder what it is you see? And I wonder what name you would give to the painting ?

It's simply called "swans reflecting elephants"

The reflection in the water of the lake creates the double image seen in the painting.

Here we see three swans in front of bleak landscape with leafless trees. They are reflected in the lake so that the swans' heads become the elephants' heads and the trees become the bodies of the elephants.

In the foreground we see the stillness of the lake ....glass like and cool.....inviting ....refreshing . But in stark contrast Salvador DalĂ­ uses swirl-like images in fiery colours to depict the background cliffs and skies.....hot, tiring unremitting sun on parched landscape

In many ways this is an uncomfortable painting....

I wonder if anyone has noticed the man on the left side of the painting? Yes?

He has turned away from the main focus of the painting.....and is not looking at that which was the subject of our gaze. He is not looking at the beautiful swans reflecting elephants ....nor is he contemplating the irrationality of the artist connecting swans and elephants . Perhaps he has already looked and is uncomfortable by what he has seen. Perhaps it's easier to see things in the way he always has. Perhaps life was easier when he just saw simple swans swimming on an idillic lake. "Don't disturb my thinking and my world view....I do not want to be challenged "

Perhaps the man turns away from the concept that one cannot judge a person's character by his outward looks? What is beautiful and desirable may in the end turn out to only be that way at the expense of others.

And what of us as we look at the world? People, places, situations .

Superficial looking and understanding perhaps.

The elderly person no longer able to do anything for themselves.

The person with dementia unable to even recall the names or recognise those most dear to them.

The unkept smelly person that sits in the gutter and begs our small change .

I wonder if we can look below the surface and see their humanity .....what they were.....what they could be....what they are if only we turned around and saw things differently.

Seeing God in unexpected places ......

May our prayer be like the lake in the Dali picture........a mirror into which we can look and see the world as God sees the world....

....and we are transformed.

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