Rob Levit | February 2014

Paul Gauguin and the Three Questions

As a graduate student at New England Conservatory in the early 1990’s, I was lucky enough to live within walking distance of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Of the myriad of masterworks there, one stood out as easily the most amazing and profound: Gauguin’s massive work depicting life and the human condition in all its divergent and amazing forms. The title of the painting and the amazing scenes of life it depicts ask us to reflect deeply – “Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?”

As educators shaping the futures of children, we need to be in a continuous loop of reflection to keep us focused on what is most essential and profound in our work. This continuous loop takes place on a daily level, a weekly level, a monthly level, a yearly level and through the course of career and life changes.

Because our lives are so complex and challenging, it is a worthy question to ask “Where can I make the most profound and needed difference using my skills and talents?” Gauguin’s painting asks us to look deeply at our past, present and future not so much to answer these questions but to search deeply within ourselves.

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

These questions are individual, family and community questions that lead us into the deeper places of life. Stare deeply into the painting, imagine the scenes and what they depict, take out your journal and reflect.

About the Author

Rob Levit, an acclaimed musician and artist and 2013 Innovator of the Year from the Maryland Daily Record, has created award-winning innovative "Life-Skills Through The Arts" programs for adults with mental illness, the homeless, adults in drug and alcohol recovery, youth in domestic/sexual abuse counseling, foster children, hospital patients, veterans and many more. He is currently Executive Director of Creating Communities and was the first Artist-In-Residence at Hospice of the Chesapeake, where he created and infused healing activities for the well-being of staff, families and patients. Email Rob.