Education Seminar at Chitrakala Parishad Bangalore
Theoretical study of Art History and Aesthetics, to my mind is definitely required, but its use is quite like a travel/visit to a wonderful resort or place where you soak in the history and understand the culture. It helps you locate yourself, after which you have to get back to the devoid of history white canvas in front of you and start carving out, exploring and creating your own history. No knowledge is of use here however great. In the process of your painting, artists dead and gone might reveal themselves, giving you a locality, at which stage you can remember your history lessons and feel awed! But as such, theory should remain a background hum lest you miss the present.
Legacy is not a six letter word. Nor is it about a year or two or ten. It’s a whole life time of experiences and hard earned wisdom. It is sacred. Therefore one has to be cautious when one steps on it and reinterprets it, incorporates it, or the host of other words we use to serve our needs. I believe it can be done only with proper guidance by a teacher who has internalized it. Students therefore must be made aware of its value, I’m sure there are many who are capable.
Whether it’s the image of Christ pissing or masturbating or menstruating, I do not understand the need for such theatrics. If you are equating Christ to a human, there are so many simpler ways to convey the same. As an artist in search for the truth within him, and as someone carrying the light of awareness, he has much more responsibility towards the society he lives in. Truths can be said at the right time and place, otherwise it is wasted. And some truths needn’t be told.
On Redundancy-Prof Nandakumar mentioned about the hand/fingers being redundant. I believe this is something that deserves the world’s attention. We’re not talking of just a hand, we’re talking of how it is connected to the brain and how it is the root of intuitive intelligence. If the Arts and Humanities does not encourage the hearts intelligence what will, who will? What kind of poets and artists will we breed? I think this is more of a problem only for the visual arts, perhaps because we use borrowed agenda or predetermined and configured elsewhere like Nandakumar said. Presets. An art work is made up of memories, beliefs, associations, connections, understanding, awareness, concepts, data, feelings, imaginations, empathy, experiences and the likes of it. Management theory presets and their agenda downloaded on us has erased and made redundant many of the above mentioned qualities we need. Tacit knowledge, beliefs, culture, are all cleverly digested and trampled upon, but yet this new ‘Contemporary’ art appears under the guise of Art! No, everything is not art.
Contemporary means the many worlds and universes that were sitting and listening to the seminar. Each student sits on a belief structure that makes his cultural bed. When we talk of canteens we’re not talking samosas, we’re talking of creating spaces conducive for students to talk about their beliefs and emotions. No artist can afford to ignore his inner world. Societies swing between eulogizing the individual and the collective. Right now the collective evangelism is at its peak, again a core business strategy imported from the West. The faceless ego. Here the individual is taught to overlook his inner world of emotions. Unless this is addressed our art works will glitter but we will not feel content or fulfilled. We will walk like hungry ghosts because we are forced to identify (only intellectually) with predetermined new theories and trends. Our art too becomes labored and pretentious losing the vital connect with our own selves. You can forget the people, the common man. If we can find the individual in the collective or the collective in the individual, we as artists will win. But we won’t if we continue this way.
We are creators, which means, discoverers of new spaces within us. It is very important that we pay our full attention to this process. Our art works are alive. They are passed on, built upon. Meanwhile we are producing Contemporary monsters which is what is becoming a culture and therefore dangerous. Mimicking nature would have been safer.
Prof Kolte says art cannot be taught, precisely because the inner world has to be explored on your own. And this is the world that is being systematically erased by technological evangelism and its varied stooges. Wearing shoes and walking are two different things. I want my teachers as guides and pointers, I wouldn’t imagine a world without them. When Prof Deepak Khannal visited Trivandrum for a lecture on Aesthetics, for the first time I realized I was until then starving and famished. So most students need their teachers even though the teachers might not realize it.
Art industry– I wouldn’t call it an industry, we are surrounded by such horrors including industries that aim to manufacture even diseases for us. I would also be suspicious of NGO’s and their agendas if any. All such good deeds and community programmes should be encouraged towards the end of the course. The first two years should be an inward journey with a firm grounding of the human in the human being. Once at least a semblance of that is achieved, the student can help others. Until then help oneself.