Art, oh joyous art! Where would I be without you in my life?
Art can transform my mood, carry me to another time or place, and provoke introspection. I know I’m not alone in these sentiments.
Last weekend I saw an exhibit at the Royal Alberta Museum which includes the artwork of Alex Janvier. Perhaps in Edmonton he is best known for the 45-foot diameter circular mosaic floor art in Rogers Place. But the exhibit at RAM includes a video in which he speaks of his experiences within residential schools. Janvier credits art as his only escape from the fear and losses he faced as a child. Stripped of his language and culture, he took refuge in the time spent drawing and painting.
On the same day I saw that exhibit, I also saw Ring of Fire at the Citadel. One of the lyrics of a Johnny Cash song – “singing seems to help a troubled soul” – reminded me of the sentiments expressed by Janvier: art as solace and escape.
Through the experience of art, we may find comfort, shift moods, or be challenged into a new way of thinking. Through the creation of art, we may learn to cope with reality, express ourselves, and tell our stories. The beauty is there is room in our world for each of these stories. Each can enrich our world. No two of us have the same story to express and no two of us will express our stories in precisely the same way.
Art, of course, comes in many forms: painting, sculpture, dance, music, literature, film, and photography to name a few. Regardless of form, its power is the same.
Writing is my art. I write to reflect and refine my thinking. I write to inform. I write to express frustration and uncover truth. Perhaps August Rodin said it best when it comes to art: “The main thing is to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble, to live.”