Art of Engagement


The cicada bug has arrived and unpacked its bags for a long and disconcerting visit.  Oh! There will be unrest for the next thirteen to seventeen years! This time it hums the question that I’ve evaded for a while. It bids me to seek answers and steady myself.

“Why art?” it asks.

‘Is that even a valid question?’ I ask myself. Can there be a ‘why’ for human need for expression, hardwired as we are to communicate?  Should art have a purpose beyond the healthiness of a satisfying process?

Before I proceed to find my answers, I think, I need to ask myself the most important question – why am I drawn to art?

They beckon me; the stray sculptures in manicured parks, the murals on abandoned walls, carved wooden doors sealing entrances to discarded homes, cave paintings by Neanderthals, the bronze cast ‘Dancing girl’ of the Indus, the great Sphinx, the architecture of Gaudi, the intricacy of the Faberge eggs, the visual trance of Van Gogh and on and on.

Why am I drawn? Why do they entice my attention?

The answers are no more than questions themselves.

Is art merely a reflection, maybe just a human aspiration to be surrounded by all things beautiful? Is it simply punctuation, from the unenviable and grosser aspects of human life?  Or is creativity simply an evolutionary proposal aimed at polishing the skill-set that ensures our smoother existence?

 All answers are true and they are all relevant, like light dispersed through a prism. After all most of us decorate our spaces, even our work desks with a picture, a planted pot, a candle or a lamp. A good majority of us would enjoy sitting around decorative fountains and breathing crisp air after long and exhausting days. Even more so it is with great creativity that we are capable of negotiating peace, harmonizing the unharmonious, shedding light on that which is relevant and encouraging the pursuit of personal liberties as best we can.

I wonder then if it’s even possible to further integrate that which hangs on our walls to that which we experience as life?

How do you explain; the character of a home filled with paintings, the restiveness of sculpture small and large, the assured company of a familiar author, timeless music and enthralling dance performances?

These human creations are as integrated as a peaceful sunset, the beauty of a lane filled with cherry blossoms, the laughter of streams, the sturdiness of snow-capped mountain ranges and the simplicity of a mushroom in the far corner of a forgotten garden.

In my mind art is already integrated, only attention needs to be engaged.

The cicada is only asking me to boldly live within my questions themselves before I find my answers.