Quest to Come Home
In the mystical forest of the mind, a child opens her eyes to see inner beauty in expression and stance, surrendering to the light that comes down through her to canvas, paper and stone. Several life-phases later, Chandika Tazouz is showing her portraiture of humanity’s original face in an art exhibit, and is on the brink of embracing a new artistic phase.
Her “Indigenous People of the World” exhibit on display at the Mesch, Clark, Rothschild offices is a reminiscing statement for Tazouz. Each portraiture is an emotion-rich journey under the skin into the soul. “Precious Burden” shows her touch. Eyes are lit up in the young and old, each of a knowing expression. India, Mexico, Alaska, Peru, Africa and the Southwest’s Tohono O’Odham are all there. The artist inhabits each brushstroke with a vitality inherent of something eternal.
“I love being an artist. In life, as in art, I am responsive to feelings,” Tazouz says, her eyes twinkling with joy and pleasure. “They take me beyond to the very essence of the people I paint. I have seen the strengths and weaknesses of human kind. My ability to show the inner worth of all people is a gift from the universe.”
A child of Russian-Romanian heritage born in Scotland, a foreigner in a succession of unfriendly lands during the chaos of the Second World War, the young artist found connection drawing pictures of the people around her. Constantly uprooted, her changing landscape provided plenty of opportunity to hone the artist hand and eye.
Tazouz’s early development as an artist passed out of Old World Renaissance culture into the nascent bohemian lifestyle. At 17, she took her mother’s name Tazouz as her artist moniker, while a window dresser in late 1950s swinging London. Five years later, the young artist crossed the pond to North America, wandering around the continent, coming to ground in endless summer Laguna Beach. Her painting talent attracted a Svengali, leading full circle to now, when “Shimmering Dusk”, painted at that time, recently appeared on an estate auction website.
The artist was reminded of her boat painting period and the artistic eras she’s passed through. “Now I’m returning to impressionism, like Van Gogh, Gauguin and especially Nicolai Fechin,” she enthuses while looking at an image of “Shimmering Dusk”, knowing it was recently acquired by a collector. “I want to show more mysticism, tell stories in my art.”
Spry in her early 80s, Tazouz gathers up the time recalling the moments she became a working artist. “A traveling art show I was in passed through Tucson in 1971, where Farouk Habra, an influential art patron, noticed my work, leading me to stay. My art took me to the Tohono O’Odham, where my gypsy heart found home.” The eight years Tazouz lived in Sells laid the foundation of a spiritual journey that unfolded being at the feet of Rajneesh, before he became known as Osho, and Poonja Papaji, who named her Chandika—goddess of emptiness, when the infinite silence of clear mind came to her.
Tazouz’s life immersion in art and technique attracted shared interests. Artists are always learning. Her mastery of technique came from and through influences. “A Dutch artist was a great inspiration in my early days as a professional artist,” she says. The artist works every day in oil, washes, acrylic, charcoal, woodcut engravings, stone lithographs or with hand-colored reproductions. “Impressionism is calling me,” she says. The light that touched her as a child burns brightly.
These days, Tazouz has resurrected a novelized screenplay of the 1970s Tohono O’Odham struggle with the U.S. Air Force sonic boom flights over the Nation’s land. Desert Rumble centers around the public hearings that occurred during her time living in Sells. A tragedy and a comedy, the story depicts an uncrossable chasm between a peaceful people’s ornery Medicine Man and an Air Force Colonel who thinks he owns the blue sky above.
The gypsy in her is calling. If she had her druthers, Tazouz would be on the road in a vintage Chinook camper truck, her paint and easel, pencils and paper on board, letting the muse inspire the day. Her ability to show the inner worth of all people is a gift from the universe she welcomes.
Chandika Tazouz art is available for sale. Connect with her at 520-388-9913, Tazouz@gmail.com and TazouzArt.com. The Indigenous People of the World by Tazouz exhibition at Mesch Clark Rothschild, located at 259 N. Meyer Ave., Tucson, is open through September.
Dale Bruder is a freelance writer interested in creative people, social and cultural movements and applications of esoteric knowledge.
Connect with him at 520-331-1956 or TaoTime@DaleBruder.com.