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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Beauty, Simplicity and Fearlessness: Art will take you there

Nicholas Roerich was a Russian, one of those crazy Russians who believed in beauty and art and culture as being the way to a peaceful world. Well, if he's crazy, then I sure would like some of whatever he had. Bring it on, that's what I say. Here's just a tiny snippit of what he said, as quoted in a very groovy book called Nicholas Roerich: A Master of the Mountains by Barnett D Conlan:
'... every Art creation is a dynamo charged with uplifting energy and a real
generator of enthusiasm and he (Roerich) looks to Art as the most effective instrument for
leading towards a life of 'Beauty, Simplicity and Fearlessness', to a
'Fearlessness which possesses the sword of courage and which smites down
vulgarity in all its forms, even though it be adorned in riches.'


In the years before World War II Roerich set up what he called Centres of Culture around the world. I don't know too much about this stuff, but I plan to check it out. His idea was that Art and Culture were the perfect tools for attaining peace. He was a painter (I went to his house in Naggar in the Himalayas in India which is now a gallery and museum: his paintings are almost not of this world; ethereal and radiating an energy of their own), an explorer, linguist (he was the first to put together dictionaries for various Tibetan and other central Asian languages), and a writer.
Here my main thought is about how every work of art is a dynamo full of energy. Isn't it so? Don't you feel that with your own work? Whether it's words, paint, clay, fabrics, or whatever you work with? And don't you sense it when you look or read the art of others, at least sometimes?
I do, and I'm sure you do too. And isn't it also true that so much of the 'art' and what passes for 'culture' is vulgar? I mean vulgar as in lifeless, made to service the needs of ego, the market or other mundane purposes.
I do not suggest for a minute that artists (whatever their medium) shouldn't get paid or otherwise recognised for their work. All I say is that it is intention that is key with art. And surely it has not escaped your attention that most art with 'soul' doesn't earn its creators a lot of money. No?
I guess what I'm getting at is all of us who are trying to express through 'Art' and who have as our aim the recording, reporting or whatever of truth, should be encouraged. Every time we create something from our hearts, from our souls, with goodwill, then we set loose an energy that has a life of its own. Of course, the other side is also true: Roerich said every work of art is a dynamo: the resulting energy is there, for good or for ...
Beauty, Simplicity, and Fearlessness. There could not be a more positive, more true reason to get creating Art ... whatever that means for you.

Peace from me to you

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