The Promise of Liminal Respites

Farida Haque
3 min readDec 24, 2022

~ a meditation on liminal moments ~

“Cindered Planet” Black 3.0 on canvas board by author

Vantablack is a revolutionary paint. It’s made of billions of nanotubes which absorb nearly 100% light. In other words, it’s as close to a black hole as we can get.

Anish Kapoor, a British artist holds the copyright to it. It’s for his exclusive use! Since he refused to share it with the public, another British artist resolved to create his own and succeeded. It’s freely available to buy on his website.

His name is Stuart Semple. It’s called Black 3.0.

I love his products…

Before we can buy it we have to agree not to share it with Anish Kapoor!

I used Stuart’s product to paint a circle on a canvas. I stepped back to look at it. A wave of nausea threatened to submerge me. The circle filled me with dread. It had killed all light. I felt I stood on the edge of an abyss which threatened to suck me in. I saw nothingness, it felt like the face of pure evil. Dead flat. Like a foregone conclusion, no possibilities. No redemption. Bereft of footholds. A realm of no return, total annihilation.

An old vase was next. It disappeared! It seemed as though the backdrop had been cut out to the shape of the vase. A great big vacuum. Since the paint absorbs light, there were no reflections from my studio lights. Nothing at all. I was very unnerved.

I have yet to use it again.

Use it, I will of course, its not cheap!

The world we live in is not like Vantablack or Stuart’s Black 3.0.

Our darkest hours don’t rob us of hope. They hold tiny promises of saved light released in bits. Slow in coming sometimes, I acknowledge, but the undark rises and falls like a great big animal breathing in its sleep, its silhouette outlined with a faint phosphorescence.

Pain gathers force then recedes. You mourn losses, weep tears of bitterness. Within shadows you hear whimpers, you see gems curdling, dreams collapsing… Suddenly on your arm you feel a firefly’s touch. Soon your heart eases as dense murk eventually dissipates enough to let light come streaming in and fear loosens its stranglehold. We march on in hope…

We are inbetweeners. Poised in thresholds, we go from one change to another. The period between transitions is filled with uncertainty, fear, anxiety and dread. More importantly, liminal respites are full of anticipation, new hopes, excitement and inventiveness. This is when creative juices can flow in all directions. We play with possibilities. The human spirit perseveres. Liminal respites, watering holes between transitions, dictate our lives.

I have learnt to recognize the gift of liminal respites, the gift which comes with challenges. Can I give form and direction to new possibilities, overhaul expectations? Have the moral courage to do an inventory of my failings, make corrections where needed? Embrace acceptance?

I must. I must ride the crest of the wave that carries me away…

Farida Haque

Farida Haque

Multimedia artist, writer, poet. ‘Celebrating other lives, I am a sparrow in the shadow of a rosebush...’ faridahaque@gmail.com