If the above quote is to be examined, it actually says the opposite of this thesis statement; that art, such as music, theater and the like are expressions of society’s creativity. Ironically, though, it also bolsters it by saying that the personal expression of the artist, although not necessarily a reflection of society’s collective creative process and experience is actually the very basis from which society itself is being drawn into, modified, classified, shaped, molded, awakened, and finally, defined.
Art after all, beginning from the artist’s own personal creativity, was created due to the artists reaction to, or personal reflection of a stimulus that came from his dealings and living in his environment and society; coming full circle when society shares and identifies with the artist’s own significant human experience.
History is replete with artistic expressions of a group of people’s own intrinsic expressions of individuality and affinity among the members of the same group or community. This is in tune with the artist’s search for a sounding board within the society, and thus, shaping and reforming his own society.
Art, being larger than the life that it supposedly mirrors does not only remain confined within the artist’s personal sphere. It seeks far wider audience, even beyond the community or society. It seeks the world to find a collectivity with the universal human experience.
Folk art is one among the many forms where art is being elevated as a voice of a society, a generation or a community. Here it ceases to be a mere personal expression of the artist
but becomes a societal expression of creativity and significance. Art also functions as a chronicle of the human spirit, as well as the development of society as a whole. The songs, dances, poetry, paintings and other artistic expression serve as testament to the development of society.
A society’s greatness, or otherwise is reflected in the art forms and expressions that would surface during one given time. It goes without saying therefore that a study of art would reveal much of a society’s soul. It is imperative therefore that art should be studied, understood, encouraged, cultivated and empowered.
The clearest and most direct way to attain this of course is to go back to the source and soul of art; the artist and his interaction with life and the world he lives in. If art is to be cultivated, then we must create an environment that would be conducive and supportive of the artist. We must awaken the sense of artistry and the zest for artistic expression in every one of us, so that we will stand as chroniclers each, of the society we live in at our given present time.
Let it flourish and be a collective expression that would stand time and in the process, enrich the future with a ready reference that would mirror our present society, and in effect serve as lessons for the future generations. Such is the irony of art that Johann Wolfgang Goethe once said there is no surer method of evading the world than by following Art, and no surer method of linking oneself to it than by Art. (Goethe, 1749)
Such is the paradox that is art; one that is a personal expression but then again – art (and science) belong to the whole world, and before them vanish the border of nationality, (Goethe, 1749) as a matter of fact. The famous Latin expression says everything, after all; Vita Brevis, Ars Longa. Life is short, Art is song
Miller, H. (n.d.). Henry Miller. Retrieved February 22, 2009, from http://www.henrymiller.org/ Von Goethe, J. (2008). Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Retrieved February 22, 2009, from http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/goethe.htm