Tuesday 18 February 2014

Imagine for a minute, a world without art!

I woke up with this thought one day and realized how frightening that reality would be. Do you agree?  Art is central to our lives; we all know its importance and yet allow the pressures of our everyday life to push art into the periphery. Pablo Picasso said it right “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”  In a population that crosses 1.27 billion, can we as a country even claim to have a mere 0.1% of that as recognized artists?  No! And that is truly a devastating truth.

“I believe we have to put art back at the centre of everyday life rather than allowing it to become a specialist activity at the margins of society.” Martin Firrell- Cultural Activist

Why am I advocating for the arts - visual arts to be more precise?
Music, dance and other performing arts have the support of the media; television, radio, youtube are doing  incredible yeoman service with their culture programs and uploads that showcase artistes and bring a million unknown faces to the forefront. The same cannot be said about visual artists. Dolna, is an effort like many more art initiatives, to steer the change and give the much needed impetus to art. It was appalling to discover that over eighty three art students in every hundred abandon pursuing art as a career for more stable livelihoods. Today art is more on the fringe, an elitist indulgence and like wine, still not quite understood by many.  
“Logic and reasoning can be used to analyze the results of imagination, but they cannot inspire it.”

Our education system values logic and math and sidelines imagination. Corporates who have the resources need to patronize the arts much more and see its intangible yet positive linkage to bottom line. Families must lay the foundation for discovering creativity alongwith chasing numbers. It is time we correct the disorders. I am sure many will join me in my passion to see art flourish and artists play an integral role in the development of our society. Like the Air Asia tagline that says ‘now everyone can fly’ I want India to work towards saying ‘now everyone can paint or appreciate paintings.’ We were a land of milk and honey and art and culture was at its thriving best, history has frozen that truth. We can learn from the past and enrich our future if we are willing to engage with art now.

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” Pablo Picasso

In a world that has yet to feed, clothe or educate millions, asking to develop art may seem an indulgence and yet we know as an individual, community or country we are compromising on the quality of life if we neglect art. At Dolna we have overcome this obstacle by addressing social issues of concern through the medium of art. Our partner movement creates art platforms where artists get the required opportunities and exposure and social causes the much needed support. 

“The arts must be at the heart of every child’s learning experience if… they are to have a chance to dream and to create, to have beliefs, to carry a sense of cultural identity.” James D. Wolfensohn, former chairman of The Kennedy Center

Spreading the Joy of Art
You may be wondering why all of these things are so important to our daily lives and that you could probably survive just fine in a non-artistic world. That is just the reason why art is so valuable! While art may not be vital to fulfill our basic needs, it does make life joyful. The right selection of art by theme, colour, style or sometimes even size can be so powerful in creating the right ambience and feel of a space. Home, work, gym, public spaces and places could do wonders with appropriate art. Art can motivate, inspire, impact your emotions like the ragas do it for music and create a sense of joy and wellbeing.

Art is the intangible impetus to bottom lines in business, culture and refinement in homes, harmony and peace in communities, the distinguishing heritage of countries and the ingredient that makes an individual a wholesome being.

Article written by
Mithu Basu - Curator & Founder

For Cover Drive, MCA Magazine September 2013 (Unedited Version) 
All pictures courtesy www.dolna.in
Reference links: http://www.dolna.in

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