ART EVEN IMPORTANT ANYMORE?
DOES IT HAVE TO DO WITH THE “REAL” WORLD?
we are, stuck in a twenty-first century version of Charles Dickens’ “best of
times and worst of times”.
Limitless technological innovation keeps adding to our comforts while
enlarging our needs. Still, we
have been rudely reminded that we humans only occupy this planet courtesy of
The earth can open up
under us at any moment. Earthquakes, tsunamis happen. The biblical flood
doesn’t even seem so mythical anymore.
And then there are the human earthquakes. Revolts against oppression.
Leaders hiring mercenaries to shoot against their own citizenry. This poor
world is in turmoil, big time.
So where does Art fit into all this or does it?
me, the significance of artistry––the pursuit of honest art-making––is
demonstrated when videos show how the people of Japan patiently line up for a
cup of soup. What beauty there is in their restraint and quiet discipline. They do not loot. They are patient,
One cannot help but wonder what is it in
their culture that has shaped them to behave in such a civilized way. I believe
a large part of their cultural dignity is based in their highly refined sense
of art, the sensitivity that has seeped down to the homeliest everyday need to
imbibe liquid, which they have transformed by the “tea ceremony”. Everyday life
comprises the art of gracious manners, consideration, subtlety in the
appreciation of true beauty. The respect for that which is ancient, tried and
true seems to permeate their attitude.
THE “ART OF LIVING” WITH INTEGRITY
me, the Japanese Arts of Living with artistic integrity seem to be intertwined
with the elementary Art of Seeing what is put before our eyes.
around us we are presented with awesome masterpieces of nature. Every moment
offers sublime “ found” masterworks, just for the expended effort of
looking. And Seeing:
Morning breaking. A mushroom sprouting
from the earth. The ocean. A piece
of driftwood. A rock. A tiny sea
shell, honed and perfected
bringing its own message from the sea. A child’s smile. A Buttefly’s