(5/18/2013 7:19:00 PM)
As a poet and a designer and a graphic artist I find the continuous proposal that a creative person creates only to display beauty is so one dimensional as to be completely unobservant.. No doubt some artists do pursue beauty, or what seems beautiful to them, but many creative people are far more interested in exploring the various aspects of life and the possibilities of materials and techniques for whatever that reveals. Beauty and ugliness may have some consensus within particular cultures but between cultures and between individuals there are widely conflicting opinions.
(8/24/2012 12:10:00 PM)
From my notes written in November 1996
THE FUNCTION OF ART.
It is time we took a fresh look at the function of art. The M F Hussein incident has compelled me to take a fresh angle on the function of art.
Any artist expresses his inner visions through the form of his art. A writer, a poet expresses his inner world in the form of literature and poetry. All through the human history, the function of true art and literature has been the expression of heart, has been noble and lofty without being pretentious. Just as the poet is the one who sees the infinite truth and beauty of life and things and sings in their praise in their multifarious ephemeral manifestations, so too the artist sees the eternal beauty and truth and reveals in his work their myriad expressions in the world of transience. It is his special gift, just as it is the poet’s to lend to his representations of finite and temporal life and things a touch of the infinite and the immortal.
Emerson says that beauty is an invitation to what is within us. It is this beauty – and not the ugly – in us which the artist endeavors to portray through his art and through it, evoke in the public at large the awareness and the appreciation of that beauty. For art’s function, consciously or unconsciously, directly or indirectly, has been to purify, chasten and exalt our unregenerate passions and instincts through the revelation of beauty within us and in Nature. And since beauty is delight and harmony, true art cannot but heighten and deepen those attributes of Reality within us and without.
When an artist fails to perform this, he fails in his task. But who will judge an artist? The artist may be true and sincere from his own angle but if the world feels otherwise about him, what else can happen other than a cold or open war between the society and the artist?
Beyond the expression of inner beauty and truth of the artist, art in itself is a medium of communication. The artist, during his height of creation is communicating with his creation. When he finishes his work and presents his creation before the world, he is communicating with the world. He is conveying something to the world through his work. The artist speaks to the world through forms, images, lines and colors whereas a writer or poet communicates with the world through symbols, imagery, words, plots and characters.
So, all the basic concepts of communication are equally applicable to all forms of art and literature from this angle. In communication, there is the giver and the receiver concept. One speaks while the other listens. One dances while the other watches. One presents while the other observes and contemplates. Then, the reaction comes. It may be an act of response. It may be an act of maturity or immaturity. In short, in the giver-receiver concept of communication, two mental planes are at work. The giver has a field of experience. The receiver too has a field of experience. So, communication is a one to one activity. It is a communion of two spheres, two fields of experience, two mental planes in interaction. Ideas are flowing from one plane. Reactions and responses follow from the other plane in the form of thoughts and reflections, in the form of ideas and interpretations.
An artist may be at a higher plane. The people, the society may be at a lower plane. This can mislead things. Vice-versa also can happen. An artist may be standing at a lower plane of mind than the plane of society or people. One cannot take for granted that an artist is always standing at a higher plane than the society or people. It is a false notion.
An artist or a writer may mean one thing but people may take it in a different sense. It leads to a cross communication. What is the solution to avoid such a cross communication? An artist, writer, a poet uses so many assumptions, presumptions, images and symbolism in his work. In other words, he has set a tone of his mind in his work. He has thrown his thoughts and feelings into his work. He has meant something to convey to his audience.
People receive this mental plane of the artist – the creator – at their conscious, intellectual level. It is something like two mental planes in interaction – one that of the artist and the other, that of the audience. Unless the artist makes his intentions clear in his work without any doubt, the audience is given a mental task, an intellectual task in making the conclusions.
So, the artist has to be clear and sincere in his approach. He should make clear of his intentions. He should not leave any element of doubt or confusion upon the heart of people. Clarity of theme, clarity of presentation is the primary duty of any artiste. He can use simple images and symbols. It should convey directly to the heart of people. People should be able to understand the theme. They should be able to enjoy and experience the theme.
So, any art work has two planes about it. One is the intellectual plane. The other is the level of the heart or the plane of aesthetics. Finally, everything reduces to the level of heart or head or both according to our view. Any art work should appeal our heart. It should speak our language. It should elevate our spirits to the values and virtues of life. This is the fulfillment of any discipline of art. If art was only an intellectual circus, then, it is better that we read Theory of Relativity than listening to a nightingale. Even The Theory of Relativity could be learnt but it a sad tale that today’s so called Modern Art and Post Modernism in literature stand beyond the scope of our ordinary intelligence and reason. We really sweat in the interpretation of the works coming under these categories.
Any art work should be self-explanatory. Whatever is there in the art work should carry its weight directly to the hearts of people. To achieve this, the artist, poet or the writer should convey his intentions in a well-knit manner through his work. There should not be any sort of communication gap between the brush and the eyes of people; between the pen and the mind of the readers.
The function of art presupposes that an artist should not forget certain traditional, social values. People are free to follow their tradition, religion, faith and belief. Any society has its own evolutionary principles about life. An artist is free to present his innovative ideas but these ideas should not be against life giving principles. No artist is given a license to present his wayward views under the pretext of artistic freedom. There are certain areas that we must not touch in the life giving principles. If an artist claims that he has the freedom of expression, then, the society also can easily claim that it has the freedom to check such freedom of expression. This is also true. No artist can overlook the tone of the society before whom he is placing his work. If he overlooks, then, disaster is awaiting him. If the motivation, intention, of the artist is one of selflessness and impartiality and only aimed at the betterment of mankind, aimed at the co-existence of people and not aimed at challenging something in which he doesn’t believe, such a freedom of expression will be eventually challenged by the world. This is one of the principles of life.
An artist may have deviated from the common denomination of using symbols to represent an idea. People have their own general sense about images and symbols. It is intricately woven with our tradition, belief, faith, social percepts, our sense of value of life and above all, our experience. It is a simple, yet, a complex factor. It is while we present an idea, a concept by way of symbolism that we often cross-communicate since symbols may have different meanings under different contexts. Unless the intention of the artist is clear, the context becomes just like a fog to the experiencer. It leads to misinterpretation of symbols or images. It may finally end even in a controversy.
Unfortunately, both the artist and the people around him are not so sensible even though both may claim that they are. In all probability, today’s artist is more of an outlaw than a feeler of humanity. He is under the guise that employments of modern techniques in art also mean toppling the general belief of people. This is not revolution. Human belief goes beyond reason. Any immoral act should be revealed and offended and an artist is free to do that but it is not at all his duty or right to offend against simple faith and belief of people.
Why did M F Hussein draw a nude picture of one of the Hindu gods? What was his intention? Why did he go against a popular belief? If he would say that he has the freedom of expression, others also might draw nude pictures of his wife or daughter and say that they too cannot be questioned on grounds of freedom of expression. Will M F Husein settle for that?
Today, artists handle the theme of nudity with a variety of explanations. We are forced to believe their words because the society has classified them under ‘celebrities’. Today, the society has no hard and fast rules about anything and this also get reflected in art and literature. Actually, a loose society serves as a platform for any artist to escape with any kind of explanation for his craft work. Today’s artist is trying to bring about a revolution by way of perverted ideas. It won’t pay any dividends other than creating a temporary sensation. One may get some supporters to the theory of post modernism at present but it won’t be the same as always.
Remember, any artist of any discipline is ultimately a social being since he is part of a society. He cannot stand apart from the rest of humanity. Being a social creature, an artist has got a commitment towards society. No artist can escape from this framework.
Now, what is the aim of any social commitment? The aim is to bring in peace and harmony in the world by the presentation of an idea using brush or pen and not to bring divided thoughts among the people. One can really be a revolutionist by showing higher planes of truth not at the cost of the general beliefs and notions of life.
Remember, truth is always simple. The expression of truth need not be by way of an intellectual brain storm. Storms may always uproot giant trees. Storms are unfavorable for the growth of the garden of life.
(3/19/2012 11:00:00 AM)
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(3/9/2012 2:48:00 AM)
World's Oldest Charles Dickens Film Discovered
The oldest surviving film based on the works of Charles Dickens has been discovered after laying unnoticed in an archive for more than 50 years.
The Death of Poor Joe, which dates back to March 1901, was made by British film pioneer G.A. Smith and was given to the British Film Institute (BFI) in 1954 by a collector who had known Smith, but was catalogued under a different name and incorrect date.
You can watch the one-minute film on BBC News Entertainment&Arts page
(3/6/2012 6:26:00 AM)
Poetry Comes To Life in a Poem Forest
Artist Jon Cotner's installation takes classic lines from poetry and imposes them on a 20 minute walk through New York Botanical Garden park.
Cotner’s thinks that poetry shouldn’t just be studied, but rather should be looked at as ”a way of life, a mode of knowing.” With this in mind, the artist created ”Poem Forest, ” and idea that brings poetry back to nature–having visitors read lines from different poems while walking through the park.
Cotner: Poetry can wake us, and in the process we create a shared world or ‘the commons.' But what characterizes this common world? How can we describe it? With such questions in mind, I shaped Poem Forest. A typical literary event wouldn’t work; it’s too easy to drift while others read their own prewritten material. Poem Forest needed to be more engaging. Otherwise it wouldn’t be poetic.”
For an audiovisual tour in Poem Forest visit
(2/14/2012 6:44:00 AM)
The Library as Incubator Project
The Library as Incubator Project was created by Erinn Batykefer, Laura Damon-Moore, and Christina Endres, three graduate students at the UW-Madison School of Library and Information Studies.
The Project highlights the ways that libraries and artists can work together and features:
- Visual artists, performing artists, and writers who use libraries in their communities for inspiration, information, and as gallery space
- Collections, libraries and library staff that incubate the arts, and the ways that artists can use them effectively
- Free-to-share resources for librarians looking to incubate the arts at their libraries
- Ideas for artists looking to connect with their communities through library programming
For further detail and guidelines on http: //www.libraryasincubatorproject.org/? page_id=9
(11/3/2011 7:48:00 AM)
Elizabeth Bishop’s Other Art
'This year is the centenary of the birth of Elizabeth Bishop, one of the most celebrated figures in American poetry, and several new collections of her prose, poems, and correspondence have been published to commemorate it. Her work is a widely recognized force in American poetry. Far less known is that Bishop was also an accomplished artist.'
written by: William Benton, the editor of 'Exchanging Hats', a book of Elizabeth Bishop’s paintings, and author most recently of Madly, a novel.
Read the rest on 'The New York Review of Books'
(10/30/2011 4:09:00 AM)
by Sang-dae Suh on Saturday, October 29,2011 at 4: 09pm
A person's self-centeredness and narrow mindedness should sometimes go through the process of being attenuated by having an access to an artistic manifestation whatever form it may be.
Sometimes we need to be primed afresh with spiritual rations called art to wage a stressful war of day-to-day living, which is fraught with trials and tribulations.
Only through this sort of change of our intellectual air can we achieve broad-mindedness and richness in thoughts.
For some especially who lead an onerous life where their each and every meal is only secured by their own struggle both physical and mental, any artistic practice may seem luxuries and frills which have no room for their struggling life.
Others may have a strong hostility toward artists, labeling them useless good-for-nothing elements in our society.
However, throughout human history we find no discontinuation of artistic exertion albeit there were some weakened landscapes peppered here and there where artists in pursuit of certain directions were persecuted or in better cases mildly criticized.
Art has been an essential element of human development whose importance can never be look down upon which has been no less functional in human civilization than any scientific quests.
Joseph P. Goebbels, who was an heir apparent in Hitler's Nazi Germany and a maniacal art collector like his boss Hitler is allegedly said to have been greatly desponded and cursed the art forger when one of his collection items for which he had paid a huge sum of money proved to be a forgery.
Monsters like Hitler and Goebbels, whose rivals in human flagrance throughout history are extremely rare, were great art manias.
What does this irony imply?
It no doubt means the importance and universality of art.
(10/25/2011 7:20:00 AM)
Harold Pinter Sketch Rediscovered After Half A Century
A short sketch written by playwright Harold Pinter more than 50 years ago has been found in archives at the British Library.
The piece, which is a dialogue about umbrellas between two unnamed sunbathing gentlemen, was part of a revue at Nottingham Playhouse in 1960.
read it on bbc.co.uk: http: //bbc.in/uAjsEe
(10/25/2011 1:49:00 AM)
Sylvia Plath Sketches
A selection of Sylvia Plath's drawings are at the Mayor Gallery (in Cork Street in London) from 1 November until 17 December 2011.
For her sketches visit: http: //www.mayorgallery.com/Sylvia-Plath/c635/index.html? page=1
Frieda Hughes, the daughter of poets Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, writes in the Guardian about her mother's inclination toward the visual arts. For the article visit: http: //www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/oct/23/sylvia-plath-ted-hughes-art? newsfeed=true
HIV Vaccine Awareness Day
observed annually on May 18
International Museum Day
memory + creativity = social change
Happy Birthday Omar Khayyam!
(1048-1131) Persian mathematician, poet, and philosopher
Happy Birthday Friedrich Rückert!
(1788-1866) German poet, translator, and professor of Oriental languages.