A Leaf in the Wind: Poems by Jaro Majer, Artwork by Rose Marie Prins is a combination of the artwork of mother, Rose Marie Prins, and poetry of son, Jaro Majer. After the death of her son, she moves through her grief by creating these wonderful watercolor and Sumi ink paintings. This loving memorial is a broad look into the larger-than-life mind and personality of Jaro and his unique, touching view of the world around him. Jaro was diagnosed with schizophrenia later in his 20s, a few years after he lived in the spiritual community and wrote those poems. His work is a mixture of raw candidness and spirituality; the poems move effortlessly from the challenges of the earthly plane to the hope of the spiritual realm.
This beautiful book of artwork and poetry shows the way people with mental illness struggle to find meaning in a world that wasn’t built for them. “I want to share this love, this brilliant exposure of soul, with another who is willing to let go of all that society thinks is worth gold, but is like mere yellow-colored dust on the side of life’s road.” He sheds light on how difficult it is to be vulnerable in a society that is so linear and rule-based that it dismisses people with mental illness because of the negative associations of mental illness and violent, destructive behavior. Through his poetry, Jaro bares his soul to the world and shows that we are all just having our own human experience and coping with it the best we can. He searches for meaning through spirituality, preferring to live in the light of God than in a world that rejects him. “I wish to shed this cocoon of disgrace, this lack of understanding, and emerge a beautiful butterfly.” I believe the ultimate aim of these poems is to show how inaccessible the world is to people who are vulnerable because of their mental illness and the extra work that they must put in every day to fit in and find peace and optimism in this world that wasn’t properly structured for them.
Putting all that aside, I also believe these poems shed light on the beautiful connection one can have with a higher power. Despite often feeling alienated, Jaro finds solace in God and connects to the higher power in such a deep way. It’s almost as if he is floating between the physical and spiritual world. His greatest wish is to be free.
- The Gift Shop at the Morean Arts Center in St Pete
- The Dunedin Fine Art Center (until 12/23)
- The Gallery at Creative Pinellas, Largo, until December 20. No prints at the latter but several of the original artworks are on view and for sale.
Alli is our office manager and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University, just recently moved to St. Pete and is enjoying paradise. Her interests include painting, history, and learning about other people.