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Art is a Crucial Part of Our lives

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Cultural and national identity are often interconnected and almost inseparable. However, art has the exclusive superpower to connect with people and communities around the world. Art has a language of its own that engages the viewers who interpret the message embedded in it. Art can link absolute strangers sharing the same passion.

The present situation has been a blessing in disguise despite the odds. Although the global pandemic of COVID 19 has had a detrimental effect on many of our lives but has surely tapped our artistic side. Art has unquestionably played a crucial role in unwinding the pent-up feelings, exploring new possibilities, keeping sanity intact.  Art is a therapy, and its benefits cannot be undermined. The potential of art has been realized, and we do have specialized schools to train creatives to master the skill.  In fact, the placement of visual arts in the curriculum primarily highlights that it needs to be nurtured from a tender age.

Virtual exhibitions gave an impetus and encouraged many artists around the world to express their emotions of anxiety, isolation and much more. It came forward as a fantastic outlet of letting the wings of art spread around without stepping out. The museums were not far to catch up with this trend, giving the museums the best of both the worlds during the difficult times.

Mapping the History

For centuries or time, immemorial art has unfolded stories that have woven the fabric of our cultural history ranging from cave art to modern-day abstract art and installations. Every part of the world has had a rich and storied history documented in manuscripts, cave walls, structures, scrolls, among others.  In context to Canada, the Group of Seven played an important role in documenting the numerous landscapes that were unseen or hidden from the world. In fact, they offer to date an important source of information that is used by geographers for study to base their assumptions and findings. Many of these artists are now a part of the collections in the Art Gallery of Ontario and National Gallery of Canada, and even Ottawa Art Gallery. This group of artists were the harbingers of the first major national art movement in Canada, believing that Canadian art could be developed with a direct connection with nature and landscape.

To learn a new language or study the culture of a specific part of the world can be extremely tricky and difficult. But art can make this Herculean task quite simple and interesting. This said, it means that the artists, irrespective of subject matter, always add an element of their culture or history that strings the viewers and adds value to the artwork. A riddle that can only be solved if you understand the concept and a little about the artist. To look from a cultural perspective would enable the viewer to get an insight into the artist’s world.

Art is a simple term for a much larger scope of creative endeavours such as painting, sculpture, printmaking, and much.

Stories have an integral part of passing the enriched culture from one generation to another, and it has breathed a new life through the platform of storytelling events such as organized in Wychwood Barns near the historic Christie street of Toronto. The avid listeners and storytellers tell stories from around the globe such as Japan, India, the US that can take you for a ride without a passport.  As a matter of fact, the fables or heroic stories are a celebration of one or more human characters that is an ideal virtue of a person. The short or long stories have an entertainment element and a moral that embeds within us much more easily than an extensive encyclopedia on history or culture.

Bridging the communal and cultural differences

Canada being a multicultural country, manifests the best example of different cultures on one land. This is evident from the celebration of multicultural events inclusive of BIPOC and First nations or Aboriginals artists who share a part of their history and culture through art. Historical and cultural roots are inevitability woven in the different art forms that foretell a much deeper meaning that catches the eye. For instance, Aboriginal art has a detailed use of line work, and the artwork is mostly portable, making it more useful than just for aesthetic purposes.

Art galleries, art spaces provide ample opportunities not only to nourish your creativity but also a gapping social and cultural divide. Brainstorming ideas, exploring mediums and tools to create something new. Art has no language, and we may often come up with artists who have had no formal training in the fields, yet their passions and dedication have not stopped to amaze us. The numerous art events that are conducted across the country have given a good source of encouragement and opportunity to showcase many upcoming and established artists.

An incident that happens in one part of the world has a ripple effect on the other regions or countries, too, directly or indirectly. Art can bridge the gap between people settled in several parts of a city, province or even a country by communicating a philosophy, governmental change or societal turmoil taking place in one part of the globe into an art gallery, theatre, public space, or a workshop in another part of the world. Henceforth, making us more empathetic, informed, and perceptive human beings, that are essential as a global citizen.

The attempts of activism would go unnoticed has it not been supported by the artistic element. Satirical comic strip to posters or simple video. For instance, graffiti was initially a rebellious attempt to protest an issue often against the authorities. However, with time we can see a shift of this artistic form getting approval as an art that is now commissioned on a larger scale. Graffiti walls can be seen painted across the older parts of Toronto.

Art has evolved over centuries, adding colour and spice to our lives.

Dr. Nafisa Sayed-Motiwala

Dr. Nafisa Sayed-Motiwala

Nafisa is a freelance visual artist and writer based in Toronto. She has a doctorate degree in Art History, and currently works as an educator. In addition to this, she has exhibited internationally in countries such as US, India, UAE, Lebanon, Turkey, Brussels, Ukraine and France. Her expertise in field of arts has made her an active member of several art talks too.

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