A Shout-out for Art and Artists

This article was originally published in the souvenir for Shobana’s Krishna 2015.

Author –¬†Hari Narayanaswamy

Imagine the life of humans living in a cave twenty thousand years ago. Their primary concern would have been nothing but how to organize the next hunt without getting killed. In that scenario, what motivation you think would have driven these humans to crawl into the tightest corners of the cave, in the dim light of smoking torches, and create these wonderful cave paintings and murals, like those that we find in Lascaux, France and Ajanta Caves in India? 

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The irrepressible human urge to express itself through creative work dates back to pre-historic times. We had to wait till 1st century CE for Jesus to say ‘Man shalt not live by bread alone’ but the underlying fact of that saying is etched into the entire human history. Today, as we showcase this wonderful dance-musical ‘Shobana’s Krishna’, we join that great history of mankind and participate in its journey forward.

As carriers of a culture alien to this land, we – the Indian diaspora in USA – should consider it as our responsibility to sustain and develop the culture we have inherited. A number of these art forms are currently under threat from the onslaught of visual media and entertainment business. The Indian diaspora in Columbus have generously come forward to support efforts focused on providing a platform for many of these arts. However, the organizers of the cultural events have come to realize that entertainment trumps connoisseurship more often than otherwise. And, that is a great challenge to overcome.

The motivation for an artist is the process of creating the art itself. You may find many artists who have become celebrities and rich but their fundamental joy is still in performing the art. (And, it also becomes quickly evident when their priorities shift). Sometimes great performances of the art and demonstrated potential for future contributions come from lesser known artists than celebrities. It will be great if you can make it a point to support one emerging artist every year in addition to all the other programs you support and enjoy most. As you know, the sustenance of our rich art heritage very much depends on the appreciation of emerging talents from people like you.

The ultimate medium of communication for all forms of art including the auditory is silence because true art speaks directly and silently to the heart. They earn your appreciation by touching the deep chords in there. Therefore, remember to keep the windows to your heart open, enjoy the performance, and let the art on display enrich your soul!

Let’s now put our hands together to celebrate both the art and the artists.