Today is World Art Day, a global celebration of the fine arts. It is a reminder to be aware of the creative spirit that spans our world. So what does that actually mean? How do we live, aware of the art that surrounds us?
Art is much more than a painting on a wall or a marble sculpture. It is the thought behind the creative expression, the joy that shaped it into being. It is the words brought to life with a poet’s hand, the ear that hears music before notes have been scribbled on a blank music sheet, the image held in a photographer’s soul the instant he or she captures a sunrise.
Here is my take on art. It is being present in the ordinary moments. It is recognizing that art is universal, within our reach, not simply for the privileged or recognized artists. Art is simply gratitude for being alive.
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.”
T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets
Quotations are ubiquitous. Communities dedicated to quotations are thriving across social media channels. Whether the subject matter relates to business, comedy, fashion or philosophy, there is always a suitable quote that adds an aura of legitimacy and authenticity to the discussion. Winston Churchill, well-known for his candid wit, once said, “It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations.” My thought is that everyone should read a book of quotations for learning is a life-long quest. You can always be “more” educated.
I love quotes for they connect me to others, past and present. Over the years, they have influenced, motivated, and challenged me to see the world from someone else’s perspective. They have been my invitation to enter a two-way dialogue that requires my involvement. Only then can I fully integrate the knowledge exchange. Only then can I add my voice to the conversation that continues to flow through the days, years, centuries.
We lead eventful lives. In our busyness, it is easy to let others speak for us, thinking they have the superior voice. In doing so, we canonize our lives. May we have the courage to join the dialogue, to offer our thoughts along with others as we move forward in our time line.
“Footfalls echo in the memory
down the passage we did not take
towards the door we never opened
into the rose garden. My words echo
thus, in your mind”
T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets
“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”
The word “art” may be a simple three-letter word, but its definition is as broad and deep as the scope of human accomplishments. Most think of the visual arts of painting, photography, printmaking or sculpture, which engages our eyes to give meaning to the aesthetic experience. Even the performing arts of ballet or contemporary dance employ our ability to observe movement and take pleasure in an intricate choreography. Nevertheless, art demands the full participation of all of our senses. We hear music, we touch softness, we smell the freshness of mountain air, and we taste the richness of chocolate. For me, the art that gives me the greatest delight is found in words.
A few days ago, my dear blogger friends, Dina, Klausbernd, Siri and Selma, invited me to write a post about quotes and quoting. It is an invitation I eagerly embraced. Quotes have been a source of inspiration and challenge over the years. The proliferation of quotes within our social media venues confirms that others share my enthusiasm.
This month, ChasingART will celebrate the art of quotations. As with any art form, we become caught up within the artistic undertaking. Words are powerful – they challenge as well as comfort, test our strength as well as confirm our values. We are part of a huge conversation with the past, present and hopefully the future. May we have the courage to join the dialogue, to offer our thoughts along with others as we move forward in our time line.
“To the complaint, ‘There are no people in these photographs,’ I respond, There are always two people: the photographer and the viewer.”
Gong Xi Fa Cai! This is a wish for you to be prosperous in the coming year.
According to the Chinese zodiac, January 31, 2014 marks the beginning of the Lunar New Year. We are entering the Chinese Year of the Horse. Predictions are that this year will be full of adventures and challenges. I will celebrate this momentous event by remembering the words of a Laozi, the legendary philosopher of ancient China, founder of philosophical Taoism.
“Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.”
Laozi, Tao Te Ching
The photos are of the Yuyuan Garden, Shanghai. This garden is an excellent model of classical Chinese gardening architecture. Built during the reign of Ming Emperor Jiajing (1559), for the private use of Pan Yunduan, an administration commissioner of Sichuan Province. Inside the walls, precious cultural relics show the best of China’s tradition of art.