A while ago I was interviewed on a radio station, and one of the questions they asked me, was: “What is the role of Art in a time like this, and is it important? (referring to the Covid19 Lockdown.)
Without hesitation I answered: “Yes, absolutely!” Art is of cardinal importance in a time like this! We are being bombarded with so many negative things, and art is that one little ray of hope that shines through, but also questions you in a way that you are forced to do introspection.
Artists are being inspired and influenced by things that happen in their lives, in our society and on a larger scale, in the world – like the current pandemic. We rely on them to disturb and comfort us. To give social commentary and delve into the depths of their souls, where we could find a mirror to our own soul. They immortalise their thoughts and emotions on canvass, and share it with us.
We in turn get to see it, and find a connection on an aesthetic or emotional level, when an artwork speaks to you. It can bring back a forgotten memory, echoes your sentiments, or make you question your values. This moves people. You felt connected. This connection gives us a sense of comfort and togetherness. We are not in this alone, and that gives us – being social beings – a sense of belonging, and that is why Art (whether you make it or collect it), is so important.
So many words.
Then I woke up this morning and I saw the gut wrenching painting of Juan Lucene on social media, which needed no words.
It is called: “What Will We Do Without Them?” A hauntingly beautiful painting he did in memory of the grandparents who died without being able to say goodbye to their grandchildren due to social distancing. They are separated by a glass fence from their grandparents, waving goodbye. The part that just broke my heart was where the one of the grandmothers are looking back over her shoulder, looking to find her grandchild in the sea of children.
These are grandparents who won’t be there to love their grandchildren, grandchildren who won’t have the opportunity to share their thoughts, achievements and love. They won’t learn the history, knowledge and friendship their grandparents can give. It is such a tragic injustice to them, regardless of your opinion about the pandemic.
So you tell me: “Is Art important in our lives?” I am sure I will get a resounding: “Yes, absolutely.”