For us to evaluate this, it is first important to understand Art in the context of its milieu.
Art can be defined as something that is created, something that did not exist in the natural course of being. Thus it is often juxtaposed against Nature.
The two concepts of Nature and Art, though seemingly opposed to each other, are at a different level, complementary and supplementary to each other. If one is necessary, the other is also indispensible, albeit at a different plane of the subconscious. Humans are integrally connected to both from time immemorial. Man is connected to Nature at the most basic sensorial level. Art touches the more sublime inner consciousness.
So why do we need art in this day & age? The great Leo Tolstoy wrote in his book “What Is Art?”
“To evoke in oneself a feeling one has once experienced, and having evoked it in oneself, then, by means of movements, lines, colours, sounds, or forms expressed in words, so to transmit that feeling that others may experience the same feeling–this is the activity of art. Art is a human activity consisting in this, that one man consciously, by means of certain external signs, hands on to others feelings he has lived through, and that other people are infected by these feelings and also experience them. And if men lacked this other capacity of being infected by art, people might be almost more savage still, and, above all, more separated from, and more hostile to, one another.”
One of the greatest misconceptions is that of equating art with its aesthetic appeal. Of course beautifying the world is a vital part of our arts, but its soul is so much more. Just as we are so much more than our external trappings, art transcends beauty. In essence, the potency lay in the understanding the sentiments of Gertrude Stein; art is life is art. It absolutely is who we are and thus is our most vital tool for seeing ourselves, understanding our pasts, manifesting our futures.
Art/creation is one way we claim our power in this world. Through art we express our emotions. Clothe and shelter ourselves. Eat well. Connect to our indwelling spirits. Talk to our gods….
Suvarna is an artist, chief designer & co-founder, Tamaala