Mapi Rivera

Then he discovered a hole like a needle hole. Looking through it, I saw a beautiful glow and dazzling light.
Ibn Arabi

I have covered myself with a veil but I am still naked. I cannot hide my innocence. I have covered myself with a veil so as not to dazzle you. Can you bear my incandescent state?
Mapi Rivera

As soon as I arrived at the Ifitry artists' residence, I was drawn to the coast and the force of the ocean. Every evening and every sunrise, as if it were a prayer ritual, I would go down to the beach for photographic sessions. I spent the rest of the day, reviewing photographs, walking around, and reading a book by Ibn Arabi that I had brought along for the trip.

His texts moved me deeply. Some of his poems exploded within me, fully coinciding with my perceptions and experiences. I wrote them down in my journal, along with other writings and drawings that flowed inspired by the reading and the environment around me. One of the poems of Ibn Arabi that has ended up giving title to this project says that; The illuminations of the mystics are like seas without shores, oceans of light without limits.

However, if the mystic wants to be able to return from that journey to Infinity, he/she has to keep the shore in mind. Likewise, the creative person who plunges into the sea of inspired ideas must return to shore to transcribe his/her experience.

I positioned myself on the shore, a frontier place that joins the ocean of the unknown with the land of the familiar things, to take these images, always directing myself to the sunlight. Also, twilight and dawn are interstitial times that border between night and day, promoting, according to Sufism, visionary experience and angelic appearances.

The light that allows us to see, Ibn Arabi said, is in itself invisible, the colors manifest it. The veils of white, yellow, red, blue and green that I use for photo shoots hide and show this invisible reality. They keep in tension the paradox that is only revealed through the mystical union. Precisely, the Arabic term "yilwa" which means "to remove the veil from the bride on the wedding night" is etymologically related to the word "theophany", divine manifestation.

As the days passed in that isolated place, my gaze was becoming saturated with light; on one hand, of interior light inspired by the reading of the poems of the mystic Analusí and, on the other hand, of the exterior light that I contemplated during sunrise and sunset.
It was then that I began to feel, more and more intensely, the subtle presence of Ibn Arabi. Until one noon, when I was trying to fall asleep, I heard his voice and his question pierced me like lightning; Can a needle thread the sun?

This question stung my heart and a pulsating, living and joyous light pierced my empty chest. I understood at that moment that to baste the sun, to reattach myself to its light, first I had to be hollow from me.

By giving myself without reservation, the ritual of discovering myself before the sun, of revealing myself before its light, made full sense. Every sunrise and sunset I celebrated a sacred wedding. I had become a naked bride, brigth, free, without fear of immersing myself in an ocean of light without limits.