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Lines on remembering Salvador Dalí

Construction molle avec des haricots bouillis (Premonition de la guerre civile)

(Soft Construction with Boiled Bean [Premonition of Civil War])


When an artist sees the world, is there a certain sensitivity and openness they must possess to be a vehicle of truth and veritable muse all their own? In order to shine that certain light, from their unique vantage, must they first inhabit what they study, with all their attention and imagination as if to focus on their vision aside from all the rest?

Surely an artist should be ‘part and parcel’ of their own making, should ‘write what they know,’ and immerse themselves ‘in the world of the play,’ but what if their world is rife with pain and reeks of injustice. Should they share and shine a light? Splinter or refract, reflect or even revolt, against the truth that they face? Where there is hatred, should they show love? Where there is despair, hope?

To be a true vessel must artists carry the burden until the burden is shared? And after that, is their burden ever fully lifted? For once they have tasted form the tree of knowledge, it’s nearly impossible to let it go.

From a world turned upside down, to see their own few, futile, fleeting, feeble hands and eyes and hearts that seem caught up in the frenzy — of freedom and fancy, of destructive greed and disdain for their fellow peoples.

Are these artists, who cannot abide the world as it is, in their own way, trying to change the world through their art? Do they try to depict the chaos and suffering in the only way they know how? Utilizing quotidian or classical forms stretched and skewed to fit their arguments perhaps? Show me the end of the Realist paradigm in international politics and I’ll show you the rise of Dadaism and Surrealism, and incendiary points of view all their own, that we see all over the world in galleries brave enough to ask more questions then posit mere opinions.

And still they must persist, these first social practice artists, poking and prodding the expectations away from the cozy corner of complacency. Still they must fight against questions like: “What use does the pen have in the face of the sword? What will flecks of oil drying on a staunchly canvas and frilly fabric woven do to preserve the future of democracy?” Or should art be something more fierce and surgical in its delivery? Should it be more daring…? Does it only shine for those who care to see?

Of course art is as unique as the very humans that dare be called by their own imagination’s voice to come and be creative. And as such, luckily there are all kinds of art to be made.

Then what do you make? What are you called to make?


Theatre Maker. Teaching Artist. Student of Life. Poet from way back.