The true meaning of art, as I feel
Art is for everyone, and so is creativity
Art is misunderstood, especially in modern times. People perceive art as a vague illustration, while it is just the opposite. Art is a way of expressing in a simple language.
Art has various forms; sketching, painting, sculpture and carving, literature, music and dance. But whatever the art one does, he/she surely is an artist and the artist is truly free to create. There may be a set of rules in art, but an artist can sometimes break the rules to give some room for creativity in any of his/her piece of art, just like the saying of Pablo Picasso where he said, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” This shows that artists are truly free to express what they want, how they want.
Now an age-old question we have always pondered about. What is art? What is its use and why is it important? What is the true meaning of art? To answer these questions, we will need to look back to the dawn of civilization, but even still it will be hard to answer these questions. We can see sculptures on the walls of most temples in Nepal. The earliest paintings can also be found inside temple walls, but legend has it that paintings were first birthed from stone marking before humans were civilized and drew shapes in the walls of the caves they lived in, using stones. Similarly, singing was inspired when people imitated the sounds of birds and animals, while the sounds of rivers and waterfalls helped primitive people get the idea of rhythm. However, there is a myth in Vedic Mythology that it was Lord Shiva; the lord of music and dance (who is also referred to as Nateshwar or Nataraj), who invented melodies and rhythm. It is said that he invented rhythm from his damaru(a small handy percussion that he is seen carrying in illustrations of him) and created five Ragas (or melodies) from his five heads, while the sixth Raga was created by Goddess Parvati. And they were handed down to humans by the sages who learned them from the creators. Raga is a concept in Eastern Classical music that is similar to a musical scale originating in Western Classical music. And the roots are very deep if we want to look into it.
Paintings and sketches are for the eyes to see, while music is for the ears to listen, but they are only mediums of art, so the eyes and ears are just bridges to let the feelings of the artist flow inside the heart and feel what the artist felt. What I’m trying to say is, “Art is to be felt and not just viewed, heard, or understood.” Now let’s talk about dance, which is a mixture of music and picture. I couldn’t be clearer, so let me explain. When there is music, there are beats and there are emotions. But a picture only has a feeling which we view. But a dance lets us experience the emotions of the music accompanied by the emotions expressed through movements and expression. But still, there was something lacking. And it was literature; like poetry, fiction and drama. Poetry helped music reach a new height and the ones like fiction and drama when played with the accompany of music, movements, gestures, and dialogues, it was truly a birth of a pinnacle of art. Nowadays we watch movies and there are a lot of masterpieces, but they wouldn’t be there if fiction and drama weren’t there. We can credit the great European writer Sir William Shakespeare for his contribution to the field of drama, as ‘King Lear’ has remained my favorite drama to date.
Whatever sector of art one chooses, it is just as valuable as the other as I feel that artists are the voices of the unheard pleas of the common people. They are the voices of love, the voices of hope and the voices of truth as only an artist has the power to ease the sufferings of individuals and sufferings in society. Did you know? A simple concept; intellectuals confuse us, making it complicated and sophisticated, but even a complicated idea, expression, or feeling; artists simplify and clarify. So, every artist deserves acknowledgment for their dedication to creating something better that can help mankind, that can awaken humanity once again, and try to help save mother nature which we have always tarnished. An artist who uses his/her creativity to channel the latent energy to bring forth a positive change is a true artist, I feel. One who can stir up the crowd to make an influence to bring about a positive change, to bring about a revolution, vouch for freedom, peace, justice, empower the weak, and spread love and hope, rather than work for name, fame or riches; is a true artist, I believe. And a piece of art that can ignite the flames of enthusiasm and joy with just a spark, is truly a masterpiece in any way we see it, be it a fusion of different elements and different cultural components or a representation of a single essence. No matter the root, the branches always spread wide and creativity has no boundaries of language, culture, or location, so anybody can admire a piece of art regardless of race, skin color, gender, lineage, ethnicity, nationality, or religion. You might have heard of the feud between Hindus and Muslims in India from time to time, but music has always united both. And there are a lot of such examples.
Art is also directly connected with philosophy and life. About who we are, what we need to be, what we need to do, our purpose in life, and the moments we cherish, plus the dreams we need to fulfill; such things are usually portrayed by an artist truly expressing his understanding, perception, and curiosity of life. Creativity has allowed our world to admire good things regardless of our position. You must have seen or heard of a single tree that can give different types of fruits. With the use of knowledge and creativity, farmers and specialists have been able to produce oranges and mangoes in the same tree. So, why can’t we all from different countries and different cultures admire our Earth, admire nature, and the people living in her bosom? It is because we are forbidden to embrace the traditions of another and forbidden to even admire the virtues of another and that’s where a true artist steps in and will always unite different people with the only weapon, he/she has, which is art.
To conclude, art as I feel, is a tool, knowledge, and wisdom to unite different cultures and societies. More than that, art is an expression and an emotion that people are otherwise unable to feel unless an artist points it out. So, a true piece of art never separates us and makes us apart but unites us, motivates us, and makes us stronger. To ignite the flames of hope, enthusiasm, courage, and determination; the admiration and appreciation of things that lead us to progress, development, liberation, and freedom, art plays a vital role. To generate compassion than breed hatred, to seek glory than mere revenge, and point out the importance of justice and peace, art is a necessary medium to point out and make the public conscious. For those that might have been unaware of the truth, a piece of art can open their eyes. That is the true purpose of art. To awaken us from the endless slumber of ignorance; that is the true meaning of art, I feel. To make us see clearly and understand. Lastly, art is for everyone, and so is creativity.
(Photo: abstract art by Nepalese senior artist Jeevan Rajopadhyay)