American Notes: fragility of our democracy
Art has a social purpose [and] art belongs to the people. It’s not something that is hanging out there that has no connection with the needs of man. And art is unashamedly, unembarrassingly, if there is such a word, social. It is political; it is economic. The total life of man is reflected in his art.- Chinua Achebe
Speaking of nests…..
I recently created this book art sculpture as a personal response to the dangers I see with this current political administration. Political art is not new to me. One of my very first pieces of art that appeared in a publication was a political piece in the form of book art back when I was first starting down my creative path when I lived in Seattle. It was called “Restoring a Hijacked Faith”. Unfortunately I cannot find my images of the book and I cannot find my book! I am pretty agitated about that, but I hope that I wrapped it up really well and stored in a special place and that I will stumble upon it soon. Although it is doubtful because I am pretty organized when it comes to the storage of my artwork. Sigh.
Anyway, there is something about the book form that I turn to when I created political work. I can’t quite articulate why at the moment, but I have the thoughts percolating in my brain.
I keep reading about how the American public just doesn’t read anymore and that what people choose to read are often articles written that are blatantly not true. We live in a world now of alternative facts and alternative truths. So many people who do not have an accurate understanding of history, current events or policy now have a podium and a loudspeaker through the internet and social media. I feel like this atmosphere has really created a situation that undermines our democracy. In order to be of the people, the people need to be informed on fact and history and an understanding of current events and the importance of measured policy rather than knee jerk reaction to violence or separation.
I view the Constitution of the United States as a metaphorical shelter that guides American society and by which we measure our liberty and rights. Even for those who have not been historically protected by the Constitution, they have been able to point to this document and say, I am protected, I have rights and then gain the recognition of their rights under the Consitution. But as we are seeing now in the current administration, it is all so fragile.
Within the nest I placed words that I feel encompass the ideals of the United States. And then on string that is falling out of the nest, that could cause the nest to unravel, are words that encompass separation, prejudice and hate.
Do not put too much politics in your art” are not being honest. If you look very carefully you will see that they are the same people who are quite happy with the situation as it is.
And what they are saying is not don’t introduce politics. What they are saying is don’t upset the system. They are just as political as any of us. It’s only that they are on the other side.” – Chinua Achebe
I pulled these quotes from a great article about an interview between James Baldwin and Chinua Achebe on Brain Pickings.