One of the attractive things of having more time for thinking and reflection is the formation of new perspectives. The COVID-19 situation is one particular experience that is without a doubt challenging the way we see things around us. Or at least I hope it is getting us there! A point that has been on my mind over the past few days is the importance of each single one of us, with particular emphasis on our jobs and what we do. Like individual pieces of a large puzzle called Life on Earth we are all significant and uniquely placed to form this one huge image. With just one missing piece the picture is spoilt, the puzzle becomes useless, and it would soon find its way to the rubbish bin.
The wheel (that is us) goes round and round
Such current events should increase our awareness on the importance of all jobs, positions, professions and careers and how necessary and valuable is the effort we all put in on a daily basis. As the imaginary wheel turns, every person doing his job contributes to this motion. And we need every single effort to keep the wheel going. A shout out to people working in the medical sector, those in education, as well as technology. Thumbs up to workers in the food industry, to individuals taking care of deliveries, and to staff stacking shelves at supermarkets. A big thanks to all the staff keeping public areas clean, to stay at home mums, and to farmers tending to their crops in fields. Appreciation goes to all those working from home to upkeep and maintain online systems, to people at call centres answering all our queries, and to voluntary workers who give their time and a helping hand. The list is looooong. And each effort is equally essential and beneficial. Like an extensive chain, if one link is broken, goodbye connectedness.
And the first place goes to…
I ask where do the arts fit in such a picture? Try ranking all jobs and positions that exist, and I bet you there is a good chance that jobs in the arts would find a place at the very bottom of this list. Such jobs or positions might not be considered as extremely important. Recalling Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, they do not deal with the urgency of our physiological and safety needs. They are not related to the immediacy of the demands and requirements associated with our body. And that obviously rings true on many fronts.
But does it mean that their value is trivial, or worse inexistent? Of course not. They just happen to have a different role and function! Fortunately, they hold the necessary ingredients that address our human experience. And isn’t that crucial?! Don’t we have a great need to nourish such core part of humanity?! A big yes of course. The arts deal with the less tangible aspects of our existence. They deal with facets of our life that are more at the periphery and that are not so objective, or easy to make sense of. And I feel fortunate that the work that I do falls within this realm.
If pictures could talk. Oh yes they do!
Zooming in on visual arts, the use of objects and images helps us communicate specific messages. Well, it is no news that visual communication stretches back thousands of years, such as with the painting examples found in caves or the hieroglyphs from Egyptian times. Taking images as an example, they can convey so much, and people connect with them instantly and emotionally. Just take a second to imagine your life without the presence of pictures and images. Did you manage?
Through the use of pictures, amongst other means, the discipline of Art, has the role of addressing the ethereal and spiritual parts of living and it gives meaning to our existence. It gives us hope. It enables self-expression and provides us with different modes of relaxation and self-healing. I am so pleased with how some people are turning to art as a way to make sense of what is going on around us at the moment, as a way to communicate with others, as a way to be creative and as a way to relax. It fills me with joy to see individuals posting and sharing beautiful works of art to balance out the darker side of our current situation. It is awesome to observe that a number of creative activities have made their way on to-do lists and daily schedules and people seem to be approaching such practices with joy.
Picture, picture, on the wall
No. The practice of art does not end with having a painting to decorate your walls. That is one very positive way to appreciate it. Being surrounded by images that make you happy, or that give meaning to you, or that instil some positive feeling in you, is splendid! But I invite you to look deeper than that. What artists do in their studio is a core part of Life on Earth (that large puzzle). It addresses our inner being, our soul, our existence. Working as an artist might appear different when compared to more typical jobs and roles, but that only makes it unique. What adds to its uniqueness, is its particular and directed purpose.
Surely, it is one strong link in the chain. Surely, it contributes to connectedness. Let’s understand it better and appreciate it for what it is and what it offers 😊
Christine x x
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