Join us on June 24 to get creatively inspired by the exhibition. Learn more.

Delight and Disruption

May 14  to August 1, 2021

An online exhibition of photographs and collective poetry, curated by Open to Being™

Mpumelelo Buthelezi. The Raw Life of the Hostel Dwellers 1/10. 2018.

He holds the light,
light draws in peace and calm.
Old thoughts burning through the past.
A pinnacle of light draws us upward to the flame of life.
Does it matter if you are looking forward or back?
the lighted candle was akin to a bright idea.
Light of hope,
Self leading light,
The glow of imagination.


Exquisite Corpse style poem

Mpumelelo Buthelezi. The Raw Life of the Hostel Dwellers 1/10. 2018.

Artist's Statement

I became determined to use my work to educate society about the important function that Hostel Dwellers play in society, most of whom are using this work as a way to uplift themselves and feed their families.

- Mpumelelo Buthelezi

About the exhibition

This online exhibition features juried photographs combined with group poems created in response to the images. Artist's Statements are the photographer's words in reference to their work and the exhibition theme.

What delights you? How does disruption affect you? Can you recognize when delight and disruption exist in the same time and space? How does it feel to experience both simultaneously? What does that look like?

Art is both a portal and a mirror. It shows us ways into, through, and beyond each other’s worlds as well as our own.

Experiencing art is a conversation and dance between artist and viewer, but there is also an internal dialogue that can emerge as we spend time with a work of art. A photograph can invite you to look more closely - at the image itself, at something or someone outside of the frame, or at your own ideas and beliefs. A poem might elicit an emotional reaction, bring out an opinion, prompt or challenge an idea.

When you pay attention to your reaction to a work of art, you can open to a connection with yourself as well as to others. That opening might be just a crack or a sliver, or it could be a wide and expansive.

The eight photographs in this online exhibition were selected to spark conversation, inspiration, and creativity. All of the poems were collectively written by groups of people who mindfully explored individual or paired photographs in Open to Being™ Sparkshops™. The poems, like the photographs, reflect personal points of view and expressions. Brought together, each visual and verbal voice is woven into an entirely new composition. 

About the artists
About the poetry
About the curator

Artwork featured in this online exhibition is not for sale through Open to Being™, but interested buyers may contact us for artist information. All poetry is copyright of Open to Being™.

Luigi Ulisse Iovane. Green #3 (series). 2021.
Green Disruption

Under the glowing green light,
he thought about his loneliness,
reflecting through a windowpane,
full of despair and green sadness.
Is happiness coming?

In the mysterious, disrupted light,
in her verdant disruption,
she found herself.


Tapestry Poetry style poem

Luigi Ulisse Iovane. Green #3 (series). 2021.

Artist's Statement

Green is the color of the ego, hope, vitality. Green is the color of nature, fertility and abundance. It also represents energy and the need to dominate both people and events. The question we ask ourselves today is: Will we see the light at the end of the tunnel?

- Luigi Ulisse Iovane



Luigi Ulisse Iovane. Green #3 (series). 2021
Mpumelelo Buthelezi. The Raw Life of the Hostel Dwellers 1/10. 2018.
(top) Luigi Ulisse Iovane. Green #3 (series). 2021. (bottom) Mpumelelo Buthelezi. The Raw Life of the Hostel Dwellers 1/10. 2018.

How do I feel when light comes?
There is a deep verdant knowing
As black magic absorbs the fears,
leaving only resilience.

Musing, she wondered how to find the light
While thoughts swirl, curl, and dance
with freedom in her psyche.
What do we feel when we think we are different
but perhaps are not?

Single light flickers
If I have light can I bring it to another?
I will illuminate the haze with a single beam.

Haiku-inspired poems written in response to photograph pairing



Nancy Clifford. Where To? 2021.

Grief, my gipsy heart disrupted…
Excited about the adventure ahead!
I see roads on a soft blanket traveling underneath rumpled silver
I would be delighted to travel; when can we go?



Sparkling silver paper
Black curlicues suggest a hidden delight
I am drawn: soft basketweave contrasts with crumpled foil

Nancy Clifford. Where To? 2021.

Artist's Statement

[This image] can be interpreted on so many levels: Where would you venture? Where have you tried to travel or try something? Where are you afraid to go? And finally the unwrapping of a gift or surprise for you, like opening a fortune cookie.

- Nancy Clifford



(left) June Varkoly. Burning Instance. 2020. (right) Nancy Clifford. Where To? 2021.
(top) June Varkoly. Burning Instance. 2020. (bottom) Nancy Clifford. Where To? 2021.

Happy Sensual.
Floating, renewing, drifting
Sound movement. Texture senses.
Cleansing-soothing. Tasting
beautiful ordinary

Leafy, beautiful.
Watering, splashing, craving.
Do they go together?
Wrapping, wondering, thinking.
Delicious rainy

Diamante style poems written in response to photograph pairing

Artist's Statement (Varkoly, left)

When I think of the relationship between delight & disruption, the lines are blurred for me. Disruption, change, mutation, is the cause of evolution & the reason why life exists as it does. In that way, I can see the delight in disruption: the diversity and awesomeness of life created through minute disruptions. My photos are about showing these moments: where the lines of disruption and delight are blurred.

- June Varkoly

Artist's Statement (Varkoly, top)

When I think of the relationship between delight & disruption, the lines are blurred for me. Disruption, change, mutation, is the cause of evolution & the reason why life exists as it does. In that way, I can see the delight in disruption: the diversity and awesomeness of life created through minute disruptions. My photos are about showing these moments: where the lines of disruption and delight are blurred.



Teresa Letizia Bontà. Rebirth. 2020.

Disrupted sense of orientation.
inverted discomfort.
Is her nature exposed or hidden?



I wonder how it feels to be underneath
Dark and light, exposed and revealed, steady and askew
The contrast of the abyss of life
Predatory delight
Sexual trauma
I wonder how pieces of life come together as a mosaic of living?


Exquisite Corpse style poems

Teresa Letizia Bontà. Rebirth. 2020.

Artist's Statement

It is born after the destruction of the soul by an unexpected retreat, the love that goes beyond, the rebirth, the forgiveness. (Translation from Italian.)

- Teresa Letizia Bontà



(top) Maria Coletsis. Intermission: Industry. 2020. (bottom)Teresa Letizia Bontà. Rebirth. 2020. 

Our lifestyle changed
Nature divided and joined
and man stands alone.



Branches reach toward the
ebb and flow of tomorrow
and covered with green

evoke dark and light
when there is rain, there is sun
the distant comfort

angular shadows
broken by the beams of light
shape our time here now.


Haiku style poems written in response to photograph pairing

Maria Coletsis. Intermission: Industry. 2020.
Teresa Letizia Bontà. Rebirth. 2020.



Maria Coletsis. Intermission: Industry. 2020.

Green smoke billows in the breeze.
The strong braid rests on nature's soft moss.


Exquisite Corpse style poem

Maria Coletsis. Intermission: Industry. 2020.

Artist's Statement

I created a new series of images during lock down addressing the environment entitled Intermission. These images are reflective about the current state of our environment, as well as thought provoking on where we are taking it. I believe a good fit with the theme of the project as the work can delight and disrupt our relationship with the environment.

 - Maria Colestis



Laura A. Socia. Sand Cave. 2021.

The smiling curve welcomes you.
It is astounding how minuscule humans are in comparison to nature.
Vast open space,
massive sight.
Falls asleep on the sandy bottom.
Light at the end of the tunnel.
Openness beckons us to a light -
Transition through changes.


Exquisite Corpse style poem

Artist's Statement

How might you change the light in your world to be seen in different ways?  How does the etching of life cause you to adjust and adapt?  Finally, in reference to the photographer in the picture, how might you “record” your journey?

- Laura A. Socia



(top) Guilherme Bergamini. Butterfly. 2020. (bottom) Laura A. Socia. Sand Cave. 2021.


(left) Guilherme Bergamini. Butterfly. 2020. (right) Laura A. Socia. Sand Cave. 2021.

Anticipatory opaque
Wondering, walking, wandering
Portal to an eternity
Flying, standing, landing


Exquisite Corpse style poem written in response to photograph pairing



Guilherme Bergamini. Butterfly. 2020.

Wonder wishing wings
take flight with incandescent
lightness through yearning.


Where oh where are we all when pondering flight?
She longed to reach new heights
on blazing breezes.


Wind whispers softly,
Freedom beckons,
Wistful way to feel flight.


Haiku style poems

Guilherme Bergamini. Butterfly. 2020.

Artist's Statement

My daughter, Malu, who is five years old, has not had classes for more than 380 days. There are only 40 students at her school and only ten are paying tuition. Social isolation generated a lot of unemployment, in addition to Brazil going through a general crisis; a political and social tragedy. Yesterday I received a letter from her school: they have closed the doors. I still haven't had the courage to tell Malu that her school no longer exists.

- Guilherme Bergamini

Exhibition Photographers

Guilherme Bergamini is a Brazilian reporter, visual artist, and photographer who has been awarded in national and international competitions and has participated in collective exhibitions in 42 countries. For more than two decades, he has developed projects with photography and the various narrative possibilities that art offers. His works dialogue between memory and social political criticism. Bergamini believes in photography as the aesthetic potential and transforming agent of society.

Guilherme Bergamini. Butterfly. 2020

Teresa Letizia Bontà was born in Licata Agrigento, Italy, in 1981 and approached the world of self-taught photography at a very young age, beginning with the artistic beauty of her country’s landscape. Following her first exhibition in 2017, she has received numerous awards, including ranking second in the Michelangelo Vizzini award for women in Sicily in 2019. Bontà plays with colors and contrasts in the lines of bodies to show emotions and everyday life. Her photos tell what she is and what she has been.

Teresa Letizia Bontà. Rebirth. 2020.

Mpumelelo Buthelezi’s camera has become an ally in the fight for sustainable change in his home of Soweto, South Africa. He produces work that touches around the themes of research concerning sustainable change, social documentary (social activism), and religion. His work is at the intersection between documentation, storytelling, and activism. The medium of photography allows him to reflect on the human condition and bring the fringes to the center of his gaze.

Mpumelelo Buthelezi. The Raw Life of the Hostel dwellers 1/10. 2018.

Nancy Clifford, M.A., is a freelance writer and a certified personality type specialist whose transformative storytelling honors strengths, struggles, and the pivotal life moments where joy and resiliency reside. Clifford lives in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S.A.

Nancy Clifford. Where To? 2021.

Maria Coletsis works with issues around identity and the environment. Since receiving her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, she has exhibited in galleries internationally, and her photographs were included in the East London Photography Festival and the Viridian Gallery open call in New York. Many of Colestis’ editorial images appear on book covers, websites, and music covers. She continues to investigate and photograph subculture subject matter and is currently introducing elements from nature to explore human nature. Colestis lives in Vancouver, Canada.

Maria Coletsis. Intermission: Industry. 2020.

Luigi Ulisse Iovane was born in 1969 in Pompeii, Italy, and approached photography at age 12. His work blends the languages and techniques of analogue and digital photography to create photographs that produce an effect of alienation and as well as visual and emotional fascination. His subjects derive from his background and cultural history as well as interest in ideas about beauty and their emotional connections. Iovane uses photography to identify and confront himself with the hidden qualities of his character, to better understand reality and the world.

Luigi Ulisse Iovane. Green #3 (series). 2021.

A native of Richmond, Virginia, U.S.A., Laura Socia grew up traveling and exploring nature.  From the southern United States to Australia and later Iceland and Europe, Socia has studied the natural world and has captured its beauty on film. These experiences led her to a career in protecting the environment with photography remaining as a serious hobby which brings joy to her and those who enjoy her work. She has degrees in Chemistry (B.S.) and Environmental Studies (M.S.) from Longwood University and an executive MBA from the College of William & Mary.

Laura A. Socia. Sand Cave. 2021.

June Varkoly is an American mixed media collage artist, photographer & designer from New Jersey. Her digital collage and photo manipulation work has evolved into papier-mâché expressions on canvas & paper. She started creating from a need to express herself and has continued since, relying on instinct to influence a progressive practice. In recent work, she explored her struggle with identity, through abstract papier-mâché works crafted from scans of her hair.

June Varkoly. Burning Instance. 2020.

Exhibition Poetry

All of the poetry is collective - written by several people together - and was created through Open to Being™ Sparkshops™, which weave together art, play, movement, and mindfulness. The poems reflect participants’ experiences with the artwork and their personal and collaborative perspectives, rather than information about the art or artist. Punctuation and capitalization were alterned or added by the curator for poetic effect, and smaller poems were combined in some cases; language and word order are as written during Sparkshops™.

Sparkshop™ participants were guided through playful, reflective, and collaborative activities to spark their creativity. Activities included: mindful looking at an individual photograph or a pair chosen by the exhibition curator; mindful movement; word play; and conversation. Poetry exercises included variations on exquisite corpse, haiku, diamanté, and tapestry poetry.”


Theresa Esterlund is the Founder of Open to Being. Prior to 2020, Esterlund’s professional career spanned 30 years as an educator and leader at the Smithsonian Institution, private museums, art centers, and both public and private schools. In her collage artwork, Esterlund presents mystical scenes and imaginary worlds as well as introspective images that reflect what’s inside, under, and between the layers of the Self, life journeys, and metamorphoses. 

Open to Being™ believes in the power of open curiosity and creativity as pathways for a connected, well-balanced, and fulfilling life. We build community and deep connection through designed group experiences that intertwine art, play, movement, and mindfulness. We welcome everyone to our community and strive to continuously seek connections that will diversify our community and enable us to flourish in new ways.

The Delight and Disruption exhibition was crafted and continues to evolve through Open to Being™ signature programming -  one-of-a-kind virtual experiences that blend together playful, reflective, and collaborative activities to spark curiosity and creativity.

Our summer Sparkshops™ are available now:

June 24: Delight and Disruption

July 22: STILL life - still LIFE

August 19: Balance

Learn more