Erase the collective memory from our museums; remove the musical bands from our schools and choirs from our communities; lose the plays and dance from our theatres or the books from our libraries; expunge our festivals, literature and painting, and what you’re left with is a society bereft of a national conversation … about its identity or anything else.
Art brings an alternative perspective and helps us understand the human condition. The Arts, as a catalyst of change, must be used as a medium of confronting personal, social or political issues through criticism of the world as it is and a vision of the world as it might be.
Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto says “The artist must be everywhere, not only in galleries and museums; h/she e must participate in every possible activity. The artist must be the sponsor of thought in different human enterprises, on all levels, from execution to decision-making.”
Art has the power to influence the mind, create hope and help reinterpret the present. Art cannot successfully fulfil its role in society without the support and participation of community. It is also the community’s responsibility to embrace and engage. A community such as Atina when it offers smiles and open arms in welcome and gives artists the time and space to reflect, it gives itself a shot of new energy, a new way of life. By being inclusive of arts, Atina becomes more about the culture, tradition and less about the commerce and capitalism that has overtaken most modern cities and towns. It becomes more about sharing the good with many rather than a few.
Nina Simone, an African American singer song writer and political activist said“It is the artists duty to reflect the times as it is what that defines us as a society”.
I believe it is the duty of society to be open and inclusive and believe in the artistic vision, even if it for a few seconds.