Art doesn't need deep meaning - beauty matters too
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As a kick-off to Women’s History Month* this year, I moderated a panel discussion that contemplated “Bridging the Divide.” This was in mind of the polarization between people with differing views that’s been sweeping the USA, UK and beyond, and considered the roles of art and community in bringing people together.
At the reception afterwards where attendees could meet the speakers, a photographer told me what brought her to the occasion: she wanted to find out if there is still a place for an artist like her. She was concerned that since her work isn’t political or activist in nature, as she produces images of beautiful landscapes, there was no longer any point in carrying on making more.
It so happens that the role art plays, from expressing life to displaying the beauty of the world, had already been raised in the lead up to the panel discussion. No matter the political landscape or societal upheavals, nobody, and I mean nobody, can take away artistic expression, including the photographer’s landscape pieces, musical compositions, dance performances, poetry – you name it.
And not only is art important for the makers, it plays an important role for the viewers / participants, too. It can take people on journeys to other worlds, ground them, provide relaxation, feel at peace, and much, much more.
While concerns about art for art’s sake might be particularly noticeable during turbulent times, related concerns are always bubbling away underneath the surface. I recall a painter who liked making portraits purely for what they were, without any serious concept behind them. While it took him a few years to stop worrying about the pressure applied by other artists and industry professionals who wanted there to be a conceptual twist that simply didn’t exist, he eventually came to peace with the truth: he loved the craft of painting, pure and simple.
And if you’re still concerned about the role your art plays in the current day, consider this point: It can help to bring together people, no matter their political views. Someone with opposing political perspectives might have complimentary artistic sensibilities to yourself. This area of common ground can play an important role in maintaining friendships and acquaintances, and can also aid the willingness of people to work together.
Whatever your creative discipline, it plays an important role today, as it does every day. It’s a form of expression and experience that stands to bring people together. Remember to cherish art as a discipline that transcends all else.
*Women’s History Month takes place annually in March. Find out more in Wikipedia here.
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