UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds
Photo of Diane D'Souza

Creative and powerful

Einstein rated creativity and imagination over knowledge. We need both.

By Carolyn Pogue

Diane D’Souza is one of the most creative people I know. Not only is she a visual artist and an adjunct professor at Suffolk University in Boston, but she is also a visionary. Happily for me, this year began with a visit from her.

When Diane lived in Hyderabad, India, she was associate director at the Henry Martyn Interfaith Institute, a United Church partner. In the 1990s, Rev. Bruce Gregersen visited on behalf of our denomination. Over coffee, Diane and Bruce discussed interfaith work because at that time (and perhaps even now), it was mostly a men’s domain. Together, they asked the question: how might women do it differently?

The answer was the Women’s Interfaith Journey. Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Cree travelled from Canada to India in 1998 to meet met with our Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Tribal counterparts. With Diane as facilitator, we journeyed to six cities over three weeks, carrying each other’s luggage, drying each other’s tears, ranting, dancing, laughing and singing. We visited peace builders, professors, nurses, educators, NGOs and healers.

Nine months later, we travelled in Canada, ending up in Beausejour, Man., at the Dr. Jessie Saulteaux Centre. I hardly remember talking about religion; rather, we created art and shared rituals, stories and our lives.

The Women’s Interfaith Journey changed all of us. After that experience, my heart knew that creativity feeds change. We met women, for example, who were tired of the police ignoring family violence complaints. So 12 formed a society, printed identity cards, stamped and laminated them. The next time there was a beating, they accompanied the victim to the police station. Flashing their cards, they announced that unless the officers took proper action, they would return with 200 friends. Einstein rated creativity above knowledge. We need both.

I celebrate creativity watching Abigail Disney’s award-winning documentary Pray the Devil Back to Hell. It’s the story of how Liberian women blocked the door (and windows) when warring factions tried to leave peace talks. The women had T-shirts made proclaiming an end to the war. As one said later, “When I wear this T-shirt, I am powerful!” They were so powerful in fact, that they soon elected Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first woman to become a president in Africa.

Diane went on to create and facilitate Women’s Interfaith Journeys in India, Kenya, South Africa and Sri Lanka. Today she continues to encourage people to explore change, peace and conflict resolution all over the world.

Diane’s visits always set me to dreaming. I dream of a world where each of us remembers we are creative and powerful. An unknown artist wrote, “We are angels. We have forgotten these things.” Entering 2011, I want to remember.


Author's photo
Carolyn Pogue is a longtime Observer contributor. New posts of The Pogue Blog will appear on the first and third Thursday of the month. For more information on Carolyn Pogue, visit www.carolynpogue.ca..
Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!
Promotional Image

Editorials

David Wilson%

Observations

by David Wilson

If statues could talk

Promotional Image

Video

ObserverDocs: Stolen Mother

by Observer Staff

The daughter and adoptive mother of one of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women share their story

Promotional Image

Society

July 2017

From far and wide

by Various Writers

Meet 11 immigrants who are putting down new roots

World

June 2017

A suitcase for Cuba

by Christopher Levan

You’ll find more than giveaway toiletries and hand-me-downs in the writer's luggage. Each carefully chosen gift offers a glimpse into the lives of Cubans today.

Justice

June 2017

Undocumented

by Kristy Woudstra

Up to half a million people are living in Canada without official status. The ‘sanctuary city’ movement is growing, but the fear of deportation persists.

World

June 2017

Resisting genocide

by Sally Armstrong

In August 2014, ISIS attacked Iraq’s Yazidis, slaughtering thousands and forcing women and girls into sexual slavery. Today, the survivors are fighting for their ancient way of life.

Society

April 2017

Dear Grandkids

by Various Writers

Six acclaimed Canadian authors write letters from the heart

Society

March 2017

Called to resist

by Paul Wilson

Liberal Christians in the United States test their faith against a demagogue

Promotional Image