Seed of hope: gallery’s smallest artwork

2013-02-13 00:00

A PIETERMARITZBURG doctor with a passion to inspire others gave a local gallery the task of framing something so tiny it was hard to handle, let alone frame.

The doctor, who agreed to be interviewed as long as her name is not given for professional reasons, had an unusual request: she wanted a mustard seed to be mounted in an ornate frame as a symbol of hope.

“I’m a very spiritual person. There is lots about the tiny mustard seed which is fundamental to hope for a person in despair.”

She said the small seed grows into a big tree, which gives shade to others and in which birds build their nests.

She quoted a verse from Matthew 17:20 in which Jesus tells his disciples: “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

The doctor said she wanted to give the framed mustard seed to a friend as a gift to show that even when things went wrong, anything was possible.

She said she hoped it would show her friend that they should believe in the power within themselves and in a greater power. “It’s a comfort and also says ‘I’m here for you’.”

The doctor said she always kept a packet of mustard seeds in her surgery and handed them out to patients who were experiencing troubled times.

“I encourage them by telling them that all they need is faith and that they will get through.”

She said it was particularly powerful for patients who were battling to have children, and who had given up hoping that they would conceive.

“I had one woman who told me it had helped her. It’s done a lot.”

The doctor said the mustard seed also had relevance to news.

“In this world there is so much bad news”, on television and in the newspapers.

“It’s time we started creating some good news. Make good news grow so that others can get shelter from us.”

The owners of the Inside Out Gallery at Hayfields Mall, Van and Esmé van Rensburg, said they had to be very creative with the framing and had to be careful with the doctor’s mustard seed because it was so small.

It was the smallest thing they had framed in over 20 years of business.

“When we saw it, we thought, ‘A mustard seed … how are we going to do that?’ It was difficult to visualise,” Van Rensburg said, adding that they didn’t expect it to come out so well.

Inside Out Gallery has framed rugby jerseys, shorts, socks, bridal veils and even a violin, but framing a mustard seed is a first.

The doctor brought the seed with her own frame to the gallery about two weeks ago, and gave the owners a brief explanation about why the seed was so special to her.

After understanding the meaning behind it, they sent it to their framers, who had also never framed anything that small in over 30 years of business.

“I think they [framers] also battled with it,” Van Rensburg told The Witness.

Van Rensburg’s wife, Esmé, said she thought that although the seed was small, the meaning was very powerful.

“It is special to her,” she added.

• Siyathemba.Ben@media24.com

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