Augustin Lesage

Birthing in Darkness - Visionary Art of Augustin Lesage

These intricately detailed works of art were created by French coal miner Augustin Lesage at night after spending his days in darkness deep within the earth.  He went to work in the mines as a child and had only ever visited an art gallery once in his life before hearing a voice in 1911 at the age of 35 telling him, 'One day you will be a painter'. The voice he heard came from within the pitch black mine. Prompted to explore communication with the spirit world, he was then instructed further and given guidance on what to paint. While guiding his hand, he was told, 'Do not try to understand what you are doing.'

I am fascinated by these works, they are so very similar to shamanic paintings and particularly visionary works painted by Ayahuasca shaman. Of his work Lesage said: 'I never have an overview of the entire work at any point of the execution. My guides tell me... I surrender to their impluse.'