Arts and the problem of appreciation II

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“I found that I could say things with colours and shapes that I couldn’t say in any other way-things I had no words for”-O’ Keeffe’ Georgia.
Still on the issue of definition and meaning of art, I would like to refer back to the first publication of this piece, for the benefit of those who could not read the former. However, art is an expression of our human emotion, thoughts, desires, fears, reflexes and reflections, hope, appetite, inner feelings, confusions, essence as well as existence”.

Thus, all areas of life which we use to express one or more of the above mentioned, can be classified under the arts. Patrick Frank on his ‘prebles ART FORMS’ opined “when people speak of the arts, they are usually referring to music, dance, theater, literature and visual arts. Each art form is perceived in different ways by our senses; yet each grows from a common need to give expressive substance of  feelings, ideas, insights and experiences’. Elaborating further on this, he continued “much of our communication is verbal, yet any single medium of expression has its limitations. Some ideas and feelings can be communicated only through visual forms, while other insights can be expressed best through music. American painter Georgia O’ Keeffe said ‘I found that I could say things with colours and shapes that I couldn’t say in any other way-things I had no words for’. The arts communicate meanings that go far beyond ordinary verbal exchange, and artists use the entire range of thought, feeling and observation as the subjects of their art. He concluded.
Therefore, in as much as we have feelings and this need to express them, either in the visual or performing-the arts cannot be confined to oblivion. For we ourselves are works of art, but rather from, and a hand work of a superior creative God who is the first artist. This need to express this inherent creative ability awakens our imagination to understand possibilities, limitations, extra-ordinary phenomenas as well as nature- and thus, we break the barriers of limitation knowing that with art everything remains possible.
Imagine a world without art or work of art. Works of art which includes the clothes we are putting on. It would tatamount to saying “lets go back to Eden, before the fall-where man remain the only work of art”. When we cannot express what we feel, about things that fascinates us; about love, beauty, nature, God and gods, forces of nature et cetra, then art would be no more.
After many definition and counter definitions, opinion and counter opinion, many scholars, art historians and art critics came to a consensus on this popular definition ‘art is a means of self expression’. This seemed to have done the job. Now, every other meaning and definitions came to be in line with this. Art been a means of self expression, raises a question as to how? When? And ‘where’ do we express our selves. Most importantly, is the ‘how’ question the answer is not far fetched, what ever I’m doing to exercise and express what I feel is art. Example, I am writing this article, which makes writing an art. I can sing, or dance, or paint, sculpt, philosophize, draw, et cetra, but all these are the mediums of the expression and the idea expressed is the art work.
In the arts, especially the visual art “Creativity” and “Expression” are the key words for every art to be born, it must be from the wombs of creativity. Every individual is unique as well as thinks differently. The idea that comes to my mind may be different from the one inherent in you, or in most cases, they can be one. But expressing them in different styles of uniqueness is what makes me creative. Talking about creativity in an interactive section with his students Dr Anyasodor (a senior lecturer in the department of Fine and Applied Art, Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education) said “I dream of a time when an artist would be the senate president or president of this nation Nigeria”. Giving his reasons to the expectant students who wanted to know why he said so. He expanciated “the country lacks creative minds, from the law makers to those in influential positions in the country, everyone knows that when someone who thinks “creativity” should occupy a high position of power, things must change in all areas of life, not only the arts”. Also, he gave an example with the great Florentine master Leaonardo da rinci whose creative mind changed and shaped the world of art-not only the arts, but also the sciences. Because this initial designs and thoughts brought about the tanks as well as the air planes. This his creative ability as we know earned him the title ‘Polymath’ or ‘Renaissance man’ which descriptively, made him the most multi-talented man of the renaissance. A jack of all trade and a master of all.
In his 3rd edition publication of the book “understanding art in General Education, published in 2000, I.N. Uzoagba opined “wrong projection of what art is has been the one major causes of apathy towards the subject and to remedy this, every effort should be made by the classroom teacher of art or art educator to project a clear picture of what art is and of how the artist or creative person works” going further he quoted Lindeman and herberholz (1977) when they stated that “Art-Education has suffered occasionally through the casualness of chance success, in many cases by the mere misunderstanding”…. Sheer ignorance of what art is and the mere misunderstanding of its social and technological role has led to all kinds of perversions of a most important and meaningful concept of art, he concluded.
Again he continued “Any attempt to define art cannot adequately embrace all that art stand for. To the ancient Greeks and Romans, what art stood for included not only aesthetic skills but also purely utilitarian ones such as agriculture, mining, medicine and war. Some people speak of liberal arts to mean such subjects as history, geography, literature and philosophy. Others speak of language arts to mean the related skills of listening, speaking reading and writing. We can say that a person who knows and practices the art of basket weaking, of playing the flute, of making pottery. In this way there are many arts-as many as there are kinds of specialized activities of human beings”.
Much had been said about art and why it is not appreciated. Ignorance and sheer misunderstanding. As Nigeria is trying to achieve the millennium development goal by 2015 with the rest of the world, their arises the need for the government and the people to fully understand how art can change this country. Art teaching and education should be given the same level of priority given to other subjects or courses. This is to create self reliant and creative citizens that would steer the affairs of this nation for posterity. Parents should stop discouraging their children who have unique creative abilities, but rather should support them so that they would truly harness this potential for their own benefit, as well as for this great nation in which job scarcity had created a big menace. Lets not forget that “Art does not reproduce the visible, rather it makes visible”, taking us ‘into the world of greater insight’. Paul Klee 1920.
Hillary Uzomba, 08099257814 Follow via

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