Monday, 9 December 2013

'Proconsul' by May Ayres.  Photo Michael Perry

"The role of art is transcendence, it is about dealing with what we call the non-rational forces in human life. These are forces that are absolutely essential to being whole as a human being, but are not quantifiable, not empirically measurable. Grief, beauty, the struggle with our own mortality, the search for meaning, love, (and Freud said that he could write about sex, he could never write about love), and that's only going to come through art.

I don't think it's accidental that the origins of all religions were always fused with art, with poetry, with music, because you're dealing with a transcendence, or a reality which is beyond articulation. For those of us who seek to rise up against this monstrous evil, culture is going to be as important as the more prosaic elements of resistance such as a food tent or a medical tent or a communications tent. I saw that in revolutionary movements I covered in Latin America, and that has been true throughout history.

African Americans endured the nightmare of slavery through music, because it's a paradox. When you sink to that level of powerlessness, where is it that you go to find power? The great religious writers, the great philosophers, the great artists, the great novelists, the great musicians and dancers; that's what they struggle to honour and to sustain, and we are in essence engaged in a spiritual battle against the forces of death. Corporate forces are forces of death. We are fighting for life, and we are going to need those transcendent disciplines that remind us of who we are, why we struggle and what life finally is about."