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In the Eye of Beauty - Caress the World
November 27, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Photo - Hi Weekly
 
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Imagine a web of caresses from the North Pole to the South Pole, encompassing all the world's latitudes and longitudes, engulfing everyone in loving hands, reminding us of what the human condition should be and of what happiness really is. 

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It's an impossible dream, one that spurred the global strategy of Ray Monde, an artist-philosopher who has launched a magnificent art installation project titled, Caress the World, which will reach 193 countries in time for the 2017 Venice Biennale. Like all brilliant ideas, hers is a simple one, but with boundless potential.

A ray of light
I think of Ray Monde (World) as a ray of light in the world, just as her name implies, and because of her spiritual nature and overriding goals in life as a highly educated artist-philosopher and a human being acutely aware of the importance of darma. 

Working with potent symbols, she began her career in art three decades ago by exploring the nature of masculinity as a base from which she began to study femininity. 

In an ingenious design, Ray Monde made the female body into an X representing the female chromosome by drawing a slender woman with her arms raised and legs astride. It was natural next to work on the idea of a baby. The incarnation that came to Ray was not an ordinary baby, but 'Baby Buddha', to be known as 'BB'. 

Then came The World as an intuitive inspiration. The symbol with which Ray Monde would implement the world concept appeared as a hand, a hand that would represent beauty and bring a healing touch. Caress the World is a team project carried forward with Ray's impressive Co-Director, Dr Jan Adamec, Cardiologist Consultant at Geneva University Hospital, who is passionate about the ideals involved. 

Dr Adamec lives close to nature in Montreux, Switzerland, in a centuries-old house that he opened up with glass to encompass the view below of a shimmering slate blue lake set like a jewel in green forests. As a physician, Jan can claim from experience that"touch can cure, as it produces energy and boosts the immune system".

Hands like the wings of a dove
The emblematic hand that Ray Monde created is white in colour and rendered with slender curving fingers, an artistic image that is meant to evoke the wings of a dove, the dove of peace and emblem of purity. This iconic representation of the human hand is cut from a sheet of vinyl, so that it can withstand wind and rain and be used in outdoor installations. The hand is produced in great multitudes like flocks of doves that will metaphorically fly into artistic geometric arrangements and form mobile sculptures – or simply be strung like hands on a clothesline.

Last week, I met Ray and Jan in the Audi showroom in Azaiba where Ray was transforming the place with her hand installations. Ray, who split her given first name, 'Raymonde', in two in order to create a nom de plume that resonates with her artistic character and inner spirit, said simply, "Our aim is to unite the planet".  She and Jan explained that they want to help make our commercially-oriented, self-centred and conflict-ridden world a better place, one in which the true human spirit can flourish. 

"How is this possible?" I asked, knowing how ephemeral the exalting experience of art can be. The passionate response from Jan was: "These hands make people happy! Everyone loves them because they are beautiful - and people are inspired by the idea that they represent. It causes them to reflect. And it is a



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