“The human character is like pregnancy, it cannot be hidden forever.” – African proverb
Can you imagine a world with Art? Can you imagine life “without any music, film, dance, literature or any of the countless other mediums art is expressed through”. It would be dull, desolate and devoid of creativity. Yet Art is not one of those subjects many parents and guardians would encourage their children and wards to study in school. All around us, we question the importance of Art. As a matter of fact, many of us disregard it and take it for granted in many ways. Interestingly, we desire to be all the things Art promotes: elegant, beautiful and sophisticated.
This negative attitude toward Art stems from a perverted understanding of the subject, based on the observance of many liberal regimes of quite the majority of artists rather than on proper discernment of the subject. Art express life and life express itself through Art, in the way as the soul lives in the body and the body lives for the soul. It is this inseparability between life and art that inspired Leo Tolstoy, one of the greatest writers of all time, to denote that “Art is the activity by which a person, having experienced an emotion, intentionally transmits it to others”.
Art comprises everything that has ever happened and will ever happen; the whole trail of our existence, of our impressions and expressions. It is made of love, anger, sadness, smiles, happiness, laughter, lamentations, screams, passions, creativity, productivity, politics, religion, history and everything in between and all else you can imagine and more. It is and will always be richer than our ability to appreciate it, to cherish it and to study it. Art is our imitation of God in motion. It resides in our ‘heart space’, and when properly understood “moves people – inspiring us, inciting new questions and provoking curiosity, excitement and outrage”.
Throughout the history of our humanity, Art has been the tool we have utilised to measure the depth of our sophistication; be it culture, economics, religion or politics. It was Art that inspired written language. History teaches us that “Humans first shared their lives and stories through Art, leaving behind cultural artefacts and constructions still existing today — Stonehenge, the Greek Parthenon, Roman Coliseum, St. Peter’s Basilica and more. It is through a culture’s Art that society gains a deeper insight into the history of said culture”.
Art is the salve of our sanity, for it makes us aware of the beauty of life’s many facets as well as the many kinds of beautiful lives therein. Our cultures are shaped by Art, for it strengthens the bond between people and a place(s). We are naturally drawn to Art because it is the vehicle for expressing our creative side. It is the way we communicate our understanding of life itself. Thus, our understanding of ourselves and others, our mannerisms and ability to adapt to the changes is all art. These are intangibles which propel our flourishing. It is the reason Art lends itself more to appreciation.
Art invokes our emotions. It hinges on the notion that “some things are more important felt than known: felt fully and unconditionally, for they can only ever be understood incompletely and conjecturally”. As emotional beings, our feelings are more important than our knowledge, which makes Art a core of our being. E.E. Cummings knew this and articulated it in his impassioned case for the courage to be one’s self: that “Whenever you think or you believe or you know, you’re a lot of other people: but the moment you feel, you’re nobody-but-yourself…is the hardest battle which any human being can fight”.
Quite a significant number of studies have revealed how life inspires Art and Art makes life flourish. Art is both visionary and revolutionary. Oakley Burts wrote that “Art lives around us, it’s everywhere all at once – in the literature we read, cinema we watch, architecture we admire and more. It transcends language, political, social and cultural boundaries – seeking to bring people together as members of the human race instead of dividing.
It exists as a pathway to a greater understanding of the world and ourselves, enriching our souls with passion in the process”. Art is like a good seed. When it falls on rich soil, on an appreciative mind, it germinates and flourishes for the greater good of our humanity. Let us therefore nurture it for our own good and that of others…
Kodwo Brumpon is an author, a trainer and life coach who inspires individuals, groups and organisations to think and feel that which is true by helping them positively respond to that which is beautiful while nudging them to let goodness govern their actions.
Comments, suggestions and requests should be sent to him at [email protected]