At the Stream of Life - Reflections on the fresco of the Caux dining room

A 75th Anniversary Arts Event

15/09/2021
Lennart segerstrale fresco dining-room Water

 

When you go into the dining room of the Caux Conference and Seminar Centre the first thing that strikes you may well be the wonderful view from the bay window. The second is the colourful fresco which covers the whole of one wall.

It is easy to become accustomed to it and forget it is there. But it is a great privilege to have such a magnificent work of art, generously given by the outstanding Finnish artist Lennart Segestråle (read about him in the 75 Years of Stories series). 

 

Connection fresco Morenike

It really made me think about the endless chain of everybody being connected in some way, shape or form.

- Morenike Onajobi, UK -

This year's celebrations of 75 Years of Encounters at the Initiatives of Change conference centre in Caux were the perfect opportunity to take a closer look at this beautiful masterpiece, full of symbols and inspiration, which has accompanied so many important meals and discussions over the years.

Segerstråle called the fresco ‘At the stream of life’.  It portrayed his vision for the Caux conference centre as a place where people come to quench their inner thirst and from which they go out to take the water of life to a thirsty world.

 

Help fresco Lotty

We can judge ourselves in darkness or we can look up to the light and we can let the living water find us, flow through us, cleanse us, free us. Where and what is my source of living water? Am I willing to share it with others?

- Lotty Wolvekamp, Netherlands -

The arts have always had the power to challenge, transform and subvert. Artists of all disciplines have participated in this year’s celebrations, inspired by Segerstråle’s fresco and its theme.

At the beginning of the Day of Gratitude on 1 August 2021 five people from different walks of life shared their reflections on specific sections of the fresco. As each person spoke, the participants could see the relevant part of the painting on their zoom screens.

 

Family fresco Vivek

The strength of a family lies in the combination of the diversity of the people within a family.

The glue that holds any family together, through all its ups and downs, is love.

- Vivek Asrani, India -

We had contributions from Vivek Asrani, India, and Morenike Onajobi, UK, who are both on the Council of the IofC Switzerland Foundation. We heard from Lotty Wolverkamp from the Netherlands, who served on that Council and has been a member of the IofC network for many years; Liz Weeks, Australia, who spent many summers in the Caux kitchens; and Hamza Ghandour, Lebanon, an alumnus of the Caux Peace and Leadership Programme, who worked in the Caux dining-room.

 

Blessing fresco Liz Weeks

We all have a past, we live in the present, and the future is there to be explored, experienced, discovered, imagined, rebirthed. And then beyond is the great spiritual unknown, perhaps a blessing waiting for humanity.

- Liz Weeks, Australia -

At the end of each reflection, the speakers posed one or two questions – and the participants spent time with them, connecting the fresco’s message to their personal experience, while listening to inspiring music by Norwegian composer Sveinung Nygaard.

 

Youth fresco Hamsa

I believe that to create a better world, to create peace (...) each contribution can be a piece of support to be able to move forward.

- Hamza Ghandour, Lebanon -

 

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Watch the replay here

 

 

 

Featured Story
Off
Event Categories
75th anniversary Arts events

related stories

Ningali Cullen speaken at the dedication of a national memorial to the Stolen Generations 2004

1998: Ningali Cullen – Journey of Healing

When Ningali Cullen came to Caux in 1998, she brought news of a growing people’s movement in Australia to acknowledge the truth about their history. ...

Maori queen

1997: The Māori Queen – ‘Our people are moving forward’

She was a queen with the vision of a better future for her people. Discover the story of Māori Queen, Dame Te Atairangikaahu, and her visit to Caux. ...

Yousef Khanfar

Yousef Khanfar: The Art of Seeing

How do we see the reality around us? And how can photos help show the humanity in people, even those at the edge of society? Read the report on Yousef Khanfar's inspiring workshop on photography....

Cardinal König in Caux.png

1996: Cardinal Franz König - 'On each visit I learn something new'

One of the enduring images of the 50th anniversary of the Initiatives of Change conference centre in 1996 is that of the Dalai Lama greeting the 90-year-old Cardinal Franz König. ...

Marta Dabrowska.jpeg

1995: Marta Dąbrowska – ‘Summer comes and Caux comes’

In the early 1990s, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, large numbers of Eastern and Central Europeans came to the Initiatives of Change (IofC) conferences in Caux. Many, like Marta Dąbrowska from Pola...

4th Caux Round Table Global Dialogues 1989

1994: The Caux Round Table – Principles for Business

In July 1994, a set of Principles for Business was launched at Caux by the Caux Round Table (CRT), an international forum of business leaders which had been meeting there since 1986....

Ahmed Egal and Hassan Mohamud in Stockholm

1993: Somalia – ‘If you can have peace in Galkayo, you can have it anywhere’

Among the Somalis at Caux in 1993 were Hassan Mohamud and Ahmed Egal, both from Galkayo, one of Somalia’s most violent cities. At Caux in 1993, together with other Somalis, they drew up a list of pote...

Hope in the Cities - Dr Robert Taylor (left, John Smith and Audrey Burton at Caux 1992

1992: Hope in the Cities – 'Where healing can take place'

In July 1992, 80 Americans arrived at the Initiatives of Change Switzerland conference centre in Caux with an urgent question: how to address racism, poverty and alienation in US cities. Three months ...

Anna Abdallah

1991: Anna Abdallah Msekwa – Creators of Peace

The 680 women – and some men – who packed the Main Hall of the Caux Palace for the launch of Creators of Peace 30 years ago came from 62 countries and a mind-boggling variety of backgrounds: a Mohawk ...

King Michael of Romania, Queen Anne and young Romanians in Caux 1990

1990: King Michael of Romania – ‘Evil cannot last indefinitely’

In the summer of 1990, six months after the overthrow of Communism in their country, 30 young Romanians came to Caux. It was their first time outside the Eastern bloc, and they had been hesitant about...

Michel Orphelin acting in Caux

1989: Michel Orphelin – Theatre of the heart

In spring 1946, when the first small group of Swiss visited the derelict hotel in Caux which was to become the Initiatives of Change (IofC) conference centre, they realized its ballroom could become a...

1988 square.

1988: Joe Hakim and Marie Chaftari - ‘I am not a victim’

The Caux summer of 1988 at the Initiatives of Change conference centre began with a Mediterranean Dialogue, attended by people from all over the region, followed by a 10-day ‘youth training session’. ...

Mother Park

1987: Mother Park Chung Soo – ‘A new door began to open’

Mother Park Chung Soo, a Won Buddhist nun, has been called the ‘Mother Teresa of South Korea’. She was already involved in humanitarian work in Korea when she came to the Initiatives of Change confere...

Benches Work Week 1986

1986 - Work Week: A facelift for the Caux Palace

As plans for celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Initiatives of Change conference centre in Caux got underway, Eliane Stallybrass began to dream. In 1946 the pioneers of Caux had volunteered their...