Friday, June 5, 2009
Art Manifesto by Jeanette Winterson
I love Jeanette Winterson'sbook Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery
. I've loaned it out so many times, it never comes back. I just buy another copy. I keep a copy by my desk to enjoy or find new courage to create when I'm anxious. This excerpt from the first essay is a wonderful manifesto....
"Naked I came into the world, but brush strokes cover me, language raises me, music rhythms me. Art is my rod and staff, my resting place and shield, and not mine only, for art leaves nobody out. Even those from whom art has been stolen away by tyranny, by poverty, begin to make it again. If the arts did not exist, at every moment, someone would begin to creat them, in song, out of dust and mud, and although the artifacts might be destroyed, the energy that creates them is not destroyed. If, in the comfortable West, we have chosen to treat such energies with skepticism and contempt, then so much the worse for us. Art is not a little bit of evolution that the late twentieth-century city dwellers can safely do without. Strictly, art does not belong to our evolutionary pattern at all. It has no biological necessity. Time taken up with it was time lost to hunting, gathering, mating, exploring, building, surviving, thriving. Odd then that when routine physical threats to ourselves and our kind. are no longer a reality, we say we have no time for art.
If we say that art, all art is no longer relevant to our lives, then we might at least risk the question 'What has happened to our lives?"