Message from the Artist: Michael Keegan-Dolan


Every winter, as the days grow short and the nights grow long and dark, thousands of migrating swans appear on the many lakes that surround the house where I used to live. Over time the presence of these swans and that darkness began to merge in my imagination with the love story and tragedy that is Swan Lake. Much of Christian culture has been reduced to a simple notion that God is good, has a white beard and lives in the light, and the devil is bad and sits in the dark. This reductive view of the nature of things can be the root of much suffering and confusion.

Darkness is the absence of light. Fundamentally it is how we know what light is. Depression, like most illness, can be a consequence of a continued state of imbalance, often connected with unresolved events from our lives. The accumulated sadness eventually immobilizes us and can make us sick. This sickness often requires a fundamental change to move it. Change, no matter how unwelcome, is an inevitable part of life; nature’s forces are constantly moving, seeking to find balance so that life can continue to endlessly unfold. When depression visits us it is asking us to change. Depression, by its nature, forces you to be still long enough to hear what you are trying to tell yourself. In the dark we can see nothing with our actual external eyes. In silence there is nothing to hear with our external ears. When our senses have nothing on which to attach, our internal world wakes up and starts to speak to us quietly. When this happens it is important to listen carefully. The darkness in any story is there to teach us something.

Don’t be afraid of the dark, it is your friend.

—Michael Keegan-Dolan

London, UK. 30.11.2017. Michael Keegan-Dolan’s Swan Lake/Loch na hEala; Picture shows: Alexander Leonhartsberger, Rachel Poirier. Photo – © Foteini Christofilopoulou.