Rohana Laing

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In 2016 Rohana began to exhibit at Galeria San Francisco.  This year she is exhibiting new paintings and drawaings in January, and also at the San Francisco Annex Gallery at Fabrica Aurora.

Rohana's paintings have been inspired by Mexico since she began traveling south of her home in Canada in 2003.  Her art career that had begun in the 1970's was interrupted by a second calling as a United Church of Canada minister from 1988-2003.  She retired early to travel internationally, expenses paid, for the Subud Spiritual Association.  Travel combined her interests in art, spirituality, people, cultures and social justice.  Working from drawings done on location and her own photographs she was inspired to paint people and locations in Mexico.  For these reasons, she continues to prefer to paint in a stylized, realistic style rather than totally abstract.

To fully appreciate Rohana's unique painting style it helps to understand its development.  The earlier phase of her art began after she graduated from the 4 year program at the Vancouver School of Art (now Emily Carr University) with majors in painting and print-making.  Experimenting with using wax and dyes in the traditional art of batik as developed skillfully in Indonesia, she developed her own style of interpreting Canadian and international images of landscapes and people.  She studied briefly in Jogjakarta, Indonesia.  These large stylized batik paintings were exhibited in galleries, won awards, and enabled her to teach textile design in a Canadian college (now Kwantlen University).  That led to being invited to also teach drawing and design but only part-time.   

In 1988 Rohana was led by circumstances (divorce and three sons to support) to return to Post Graduate study where she was able to develop an ability and love for theology and spirituality. (This connection between spirituality and the arts is more common than is often acknowleged).   Being especially interested in social justice, and "liberation theology' popular in the 1980's along with concern for the injustices in latin American, Rohana worked for 15 years as an ordained minister for the United Church of Canada.

She also was an active member of the Subud Spiritual Association, which has members in 80 countries of all or no religions, and at a world congress in Bali in 2001 Rohana was asked to serve for 4 years on the international council, traveling the world to serve members, especially those in North and South America, with a team of 6 senior members.

While traveling she became interested in recording her experiences through drawings and photographs, and after completing her travels for Subud in 2005, she continued to travel to Mexico every winter where she explored the country, especially "Pueblos Magicos".  In the summers back in Canada she would paint from her photos and drawings and has continued to do so every year, exhibiting her art when given opportunity in many countries.   See Rohana's website for specific locations and dates: www.rohanart.com