June 9, 2017 at 10:29 am  •  Posted in A new way, Art, Blog, Campaigning for change, Creativity by  •  0 Comments

Searching for Peace in Poona

The journals, sketches and paintings of Cyril Mount and paintings and poems of Madhuri Z K Ewing

Curated by Alison Darnbrough

11 June – 9 July 2017, 11am – 5pm Wednesday to Sunday

The David Wright Gallery, Artsmill

 Preview is this Sunday at ‘The David Wright Gallery’ at Artsmill, Hebden Bridge. Starts at 1pm  as part of the Hebden Bridge Arts Festival

cyril painting

In 1978, at the age of 58, Cyril Mount (painter, arts educator, ex-soldier, peace activist, husband and father) set off for the ashram of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho) in Poona, India, having become a devotee of the guru in the late sixties. Cyril had struggled to find inner peace and was especially troubled by the recurring trauma of his wartime experiences, leading to a severe mental breakdown in the early sixties. The intention for his 1978 journey to Poona was to meet Baghwan and ask him a question that had troubled him deeply.

The exhibition Searching for Peace in Poona, curated by Alison Darnbrough, opening this weekend at ArtsMill Gallery, tells the story of that journey with excerpts from the journals, sketches and paintings he made during his stay at the ashram and travelling in India. This is the first time the journals, sketches and watercolours have been shown in public.

Curator Alison Darnbrough became close friends with Cyril in 2010 following his donation of thirty of his war paintings to the Peace Studies department at the University of Bradford where Alison then worked. At the time of his death in February 2013, Alison and Cyril were planning a trip back to India to the ashram at Poona. Following his death Cyril’s son, Victor, sent Alison Cyril’s journals and some paintings of India. It was then that Alison discovered the Poona journal; and the idea for an exhibition was formed.

Interview with Alison Darnbrough on the process behind this wonderful Art exhibition and meditations.

madhuri 1

Where did you meet Cyril and what was he like? 
I met Cyril in 2010. He wanted to donate 30+ of his war and political paintings to the University of Bradford’s Peace Studies department, where I then worked as Head of Arts which included a gallery. Cyril had fought in the second world war and had been very traumatised by it and had had a nervous breakdown in the late sixties. He became a peace activist. I travelled down to Brighton with other colleagues to meet Cyril and see the paintings and we became firm friends. I curated an exhibition of the paintings he donated called Ruffling Feathers. This was shown at the University of Bradford in 2011 and went on to Artsmill gallery.
Cyril was one of the most amazing people I have met. he was 90 years old when I met him but has one of the most youthful spirits. He was kind and compassionate and incredibly talented as an artist.
He was also very spiritual and wise and shared his life experiences and thoughts freely. It was a privilege to know him. At the time of his death we were planning a trip back top Poona in India where he had spent a month in 1978 at a very difficult time in his life.
Dancing figure on hill top - Madhuri
The exhibition and the line up of events is impressive. Why have you put the exhibition together in this way?
Cyril had followed the guru Osho since the late sixties. At his time at the ashram he had particularly enjoyed Dynamic dancing and the meditation sessions. Whilst working on the exhibition I had serendipitously met a fellow sanyasin (follower of Osho – Californian born Madhuri, who had lived in the Ashrams in Poona and Oregan for 26 years. She would have been there at the same time as Cyril but didn’t think they had met. I asked Madhuri to be part of the exhibition with her paintings and poems about Poona.
I wanted to create a little of the experience of the Ashram with the exhibition events.
Madhuri  leads meditation and dance workshops, so it was natural to arrange the events alongside the exhibition. I felt Cyril would have liked that very much.
What is the Poona journal ? 

The Poona journal is Cyril’s record of his trip to Poona and travels in India in 1978. It is a wonderful, honest reflection of his time there filled with sketches and scribbles and excerpts from the journals will be on show at the exhibition as well as the 15

What about this whole experience has been poignant for you?   
It has all been very poignant. I am so glad to have been able to share Cyril’s journals and water-colours. Cyril and I were planning a trip to India when he died to go back to Poona. He died before we could do that. I feel in some way this exhibition is like making that trip. I have felt Cyril’s presence during this time and its been very poignant for me to remember Cyril. Its been like having him back..
The exhibition will travel to London and Brighton next year and finally to Poona.

Complementing the exhibition are the paintings, photographs and the recently–published The Poona Poems of Sanyyasin, artist, poet, metaphysical therapist and meditation teacher, Madhuri Z K Ewing. California-born Madhuri travelled to India in the seventies and for the next twenty-six years lived at the ashrams in Poona and Oregon. It is most likely that Madhuri and Cyril were there in Poona at the same time.

The exhibition continues at Artsmill until 9 July and is open Wednesday to Sunday, 11am to 5pm and entry is free.

Preview is this Sunday at ‘The David Wright Gallery’ at Artsmill, Hebden Bridge. Starts at 1pm  as part of the Hebden Bridge Arts Festivalelephant

Exhibition Events


Monday 12 June, 4 – 5pm: Kundalini Meditation led by Madhuri: An active but very relaxing meditation involving shaking, dancing, sitting and lying down. You will feel amazing afterwards. Price: £4. Maximum places: 15.



Tuesday 13 June, 3 – 4pm : Nadabrahma Meditation led by Madhuri: Humming, mudras and simple relaxation. Brings you in tune with your deep nature. Price: £4. Maximum places: 15



Friday 16 June, 7 – 8pm: The Poona Poems Part 1: Madhuri will read from her newly published book followed by Q & A about the poems and/or her time at the ashram.Maximum places: 35 (Seated event)

Price: £5, concessions £4.



Monday 19 June, 11am – 12pm: Natraj Dancing workshop led by Madhuri: Free-form meditative dancing, wild as you please, followed by lying down and relaxing. Stirring, deep and surprising.

Price: £4. Maximum places: 15


Tuesday 20 June, 4pm – 5pm: Secret of the Golden Flower Meditation led by Madhuri: A soft, reclining, breathing meditation involving darkness and light. Price: £4.Maximum places: 15



Monday 26 June, 4 – 5pm: Kundalini Meditation led by Madhuri: An active, but very relaxing meditation, involving shaking, dancing, sitting and lying down. You will feel amazing afterwards.

Price: £4. Maximum places: 15



Tuesday 27 June, 9am – 10am: Dynamic Meditation led by Madhuri: A scientifically designed, cathartic opportunity to free yourself of old junk and then celebrate. Price: £4. Maximum places: 15



Saturday 8 July 2017, 7 pm– 8pm: The Poona Poems Part 2: Madhuri will read further selections from her newly-published book followed by Q & A.

Maximum places: 35 (Seated event) Prices: £5 per person, Concessions £4





The meditation sessions have been programmed time-wise to harmonize with natural biorhythms. Please bring a blanket or yoga mat with you for the meditation sessions. Spaces are limited for all events so booking in advance is recommended. Booking can be made via the eventbrite links shown above on line, at Artsmill or via the Town Hall, Hebden Bridge.


Artsmill, Linden Road, Hebden Bridge HX7 7DP 01422 647072 www.artsmill.org

Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>