August 26, 2019
September Art Show: Engetsu Carolina Lefevre – Genjokoan

September 1 – 30
San Francisco Zen Center Art Lounge
300 Page Street, SF 94102
Reception: Friday, September 13, 7 – 9 pm

Genjokoan, the art of everyday life

Art as a way to practice Zen. Zen and Art as paths to look deeply into my life, and explore how I live it.

This art show arises from my study and exploration of the Genjokoan. Shohaku Okumura interprets the Genjokoan as “to answer the question from true reality through the practice of our everyday activity.” My approach involves copying a section of the text, staying with it, and expressing it through watercolors. I chose the format 6′ x 6′ for writing, drawing, and painting because I was traveling and it needed to be portable.

After almost a year, I left City Center to travel extensively through Mexico, Central America, back to Brazil and finally to move to Tassajara. During this rootless time, the Genjokoan was an anchor of my practice wherever I was. “When you find your place where you are, practice occurs.” This is what we say in the SFZC translation of the Genjokoan. Since my life was constantly changing this really resonated for me.

Painting with watercolors requires working with the elements on the paper. It’s not possible to cover up what was done before. From what you see, you add what the work asks for; a dot, a stroke, or a figure. This technique brings your attention back to the present moment and to reality as it is.

Art. Zen. Life. It’s hard to draw a line of separation. It’s a pleasure for me to share my art and practice with you.

Engetsu Carolina Lefevre was born in São Paulo, Brazil, where she studied architecture and worked with graphic design and illustration. She has exhibited her art in group shows at some of the high profile museums of Sao Paulo, including MASP (Art Museum of São Paulo) and MAC (Museum of Contemporary Art).

She started her Zen practice in 2006, continuing to explore the connection between Zen and Art. In 2013 she traveled in the USA, visiting various Zen Centers. She lived at SFZC’s City Center/Beginner’s Mind Temple from 2014 to 2015, at Tassajara from 2016 to 2018, and since last November she has been the Ino (head of the meditation hall) at City Center.

Since her first sitting she felt the connection between her experience of meditating and creating art. She has explored this relationship through Zazenhos (Zen + Desenhos), Portuguese for Zen + Drawing. She began this process in Brazil, with events in the temple or in urban public spaces, where people would practice zazen and drawing. She is dedicated to finding ways to continue creating her art here, in the midst of her full schedule at City Center.

Engetsu’s Flickr page and blog page.