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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Martin Sharp part one

In their own words

Recorded 1970

Martin Sharp part one
Audio: 2 minutes

A statement which Van Gogh made in one of his letters to his brother Theo, and he said, ‘The more I think it over, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people’. I can stand by that completely, doesn’t matter, what sort of, how good a painter you are, how good a prime minister or president or dancer – you’ll never be any good unless the real spirit which moves through you is one of love. And that’s the pure energy that moves through the universe. And if you can just let it flow through you, we’re just like flutes, I suppose, and it’s all flowing through us, and if it flows right through it’s beautiful, there’s no loss, none of it gets lost but just goes straight through, and you know when this is happening and you know that at those times everything you think is right, everything you feel is right, you are totally yourself, there’s nothing to be afraid of, there’s no doubt.

Other times there’s doubt and worry and nerves and things like this, but that tells you that there’s something wrong, that there’s something interrupting the flow of that energy through you and it’s possible it can flow through all the time, that you can become totally valid as a person, totally valid as an instrument which that energy passes through and transmitting it to other people.

Personal contact is really the most valuable form of contact despite all the extensions that man’s developed for himself and it’s such a positive thing that it sets off a positive current, positive waves around you and it just goes on and on and on, spreading and spreading.

Acknowledgements

This oral history of Martin Sharp is from the De Berg Collection in the National Library of Australia. For more information, or to hear full versions of the recordings, visit the National Library of Australia website.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency