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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Art -its multiple dimensions

Why not artiste quota in government jobs, asks Urmila Sathyanarayanan?

What if the demand emanates the other way around- government employees start demanding quota in slots for classical art programs?

We must all remember that life is a constant churning process involving choices, decision making, priorities, contexts, changes, inherent and inherited aspirations and strengths, acquired attitudes etc.

Fate confers different dividends, difficulties and dimensions to different people in different ways at different times.

The article cum interview pops up many relevant as well as irrelevant thoughts in me but all of which have a remote connection for the discerning and dedicated reader.

As usual there will be lot of links and the write up itself will be lengthy, actually I edited it from 50 points to 26 points.

They are:-
1. There are more critics than artists.

2. Ironically there are more performing artists than audience/rasikas.

3. Government job is a different ball game all together, what if government employees start demanding quota in slots for classical art programs. After all reciprocation is a justifiable demand.

4. There are too many schools/system of classical art with very strict demarcations, rules and regulations, traditions etc and each one criticizing the other and claiming one-upmanship, sometimes justifiable but always damaging the art arena with internecine warring groups.

5. Besides of lately I encounter people referring to all these as 'Sampradaya' or 'Padanthara' both these terms being used interchangeably though they refer to two different things/aspects, [I personally don't like people calling 'Bru coffee' it is some powder mix; can we term idiyappam or sevai as Indian noodles?] I am giving a link to very interesting interview here of the great critic Subbudu which I posted just a week ago which drives home many relevant points. [ youtube link at the end of the blog post link above]

6. Normally and more so Indian classical art forms beyond all its inherent politics are products which have emanated from bases which are extremely valuable, worthy, very profound, extremely exaggerated in execution part of it, enormous scope for individual improvisation and unlimited imaginations –like in kalapana swaras or abhinayas etc] willfully designed with more emphasis for expression of devotion and aesthetic appeal rather than mere entertainment and sensual pleasure - though they [entertainment and pleasure] also may be present or be a part of some aspects of art, but they are not the ultimate aim.

7. Please note that entertainment is neither over emphasized nor excluded.

8. This important difference of classical art being more for devotion rather than for mere entertainment defines and determines lot of other things.

9. Therefore it is difficult to measure with any specific yard stick which particular classical artist is better or greater. Let me not get into examples and details.

10. Where taste, aesthetic appeal, inherent value etc predominate it is difficult to design scientific measuring yard sticks to quantify comparatively and consequently not amenable to any specific criteria and therefore difficult to choose one artist over another on any basis for a job. Even many of the universally accepted scientific measuring systems themselves have certain shortcomings

11. Idealistically for an artist everything learning, teaching, performing etc come under or linked with interest, involvement and immense joy etc which express itself in all these various avatars as a learner, teacher, performer which fall within the territory of atma thrupthi or self satisfaction not easily transacted in terms of commercial value.
Another excellent speech of great relevance here

12. Commercial and financial aspects are important and inevitable part of life and any activity but because of its immense inherent profoundness and pure aesthetics classical art is not an easily sale-able commodity.

13. How many of the artists themselves learn the profoundness of their classical art forms?

14. How many consciously pay attention to aesthetic appreciation of the very art forms?

15. How many artists emphasis while teaching the art, the importance of aesthetically appreciating the art to students rather than producing mere performers? If that were the case we would be having more audience and there would be more demand and motivation.

16. There are inherent strengths and weaknesses in every domain of human activity which need to be addressed but not only with external tools.

17. Every art form has its own inherent value, classical art has more of it, but then minor modifications, compromises and changes for transition and transformation in tune with the times and changing trends may be necessary and must be incorporated but the art form or its original basis must not be diluted.

18. Any extraneous factors like poverty or prosperity, personal pain or pleasure need not and mostly does not define, decide much less design the art or art form or its aesthetic value or sanctity.

19. Recently I came across this one sent to me by one of my relative

21. Some interesting gems/quotes from great souls on Art which throw light on the various facets and dimensions of art

25. Most of the art forms of Hindu culture starting from literature to dance to music to painting to architecture to yoga to religious rituals to religious discourses have never been taken as or treated as mere modes of entertainment or professional engagement or still worse the modern money making survival tool kit, but, on the contrary they were executed with great devotion and dedication, not only because of the religious significance or connotation attached to them, but they took into account, out of conscious realization, the most vital truth of life, namely the fact that life is primarily composed of three fundamental aspects, Physical [ includes all anatomical, organic and material aspects of life], Mental [includes all psychological, emotional, socio cultural aspects] and Spiritual [ the unseen but important aspect underlying all aspects of life] and also the fact that these three are interlinked and interdependent. Therefore any Classical Indian music form or Dance form feeds all these three vital realms of life, otherwise these art forms should have been and would have been killed long back as newer and more attractive forms of entertainment emerged. That is the strength of our rich heritage which could not be destroyed by so many military and mental invasions. It is by no means a manifestation of being ethnocentric but excellence centric, so, let us be proud of all these.

26. For better definitions of Indian classical art forms, especially Natyashastra read Pavan K.Varma’s
‘ BECOMING INDIAN- The Unfinished Revolution of CULTURE and IDENTITY’ pages 123 to 166 chapter 5 titled ‘Creativity and Distortion’

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