“Art is life”–lemn Sissay

“Art is life”. I think this has to be one of my favourite quotes. It’s taken from a piece Lemn Sissay wrote in response to Andrew Nairne’s question on 18th of September 2010. “What can art do?”

It is clear from the start that Lemn Sissay sees writers as artists, just as much as those who paint and draw. Recorded as a reading, he describes brilliantly how important art is to out world. As he says, “we turn to art, because it is the greatest expression of humanity, available to all.”

Everyone is exposed to art. It creeps up on people everyday, whether it be through newspapers, books, poster or the television.

My first thought when I saw the question, what can art do, was “well that’s a rather silly question.” Indeed, it seems that it would take less time to say what art could not do, and even then I found myself wondering… what is there that art does not impact upon.

Art has the ability to influence people for hundred of years to come. Historians use paintings and drawings to gain a more in-depth, personal view of the past.  They can show us how figures were perceived my the masses and what image those in power wanted to have portrayed.

Lemn Sissay’s piece throws up the importance of art in religion. The way in which religions have been carried through the ages in literature, such as the bible and other holy books.

What will happen to art once our generations have passed though? During his life time Vincent Van Gogh was never considered an exceptional artists. The great Irish writer James Joyce spent large portions of his life living in poverty.

Art may have been their lives but during their lifetimes they did not see the same appreciation that they are given now. Will there be artists from our generations who find themselves overlooked by us, but revered once they’re in the grave? Or has the internet changed all that. Perhaps now there is a chance for all artists to feel as if their work is accepted and valued.

Has the modern day wiped away any reason for artists worthy of praise to be swept under the proverbial carpet?

In the twenty first century there is really no excuse for art not to be seen by the masses. Technology means that people can express their views on scales that until the past twenty years, have never been seen before.

One thing has always remained the same though. Art is freedom, and art is life.

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