Late November in the USA marks the start of the crazy holiday season. Thanksgiving. Advent. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday . . . With my daughter home for Thanksgiving and two concerts and my birthday coming up, I just wasn’t in the space for posting anything.
But the last Friday of the month came early this year, and it’s still November for a couple more days! The “We are the World Blogfest,” #WATWB, seeks to promote positive news on social media. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity. The good news story I chose for this month is called Saving the Environment through Art. As a musician who cannot always make myself understood in words, and who tires easily of the back and forth of discussion and debate, I am feeling more and more drawn to other, complementary means of artistic expression. The picture I chose for the featured photo on this blog is a painting in the OSU/Corvallis gallery at their eclipse art exhibit this past August. In the painting, the moon covering the sun looks like an eye, watching the earth, and us.
This article reviews an exhibit that I wish I could have seen: Sibylle Szaggars’ multidisciplinary performance art series, the “Way of the Rain: Voices of Hope,” at The Salk Institute, an elite biomedical research institute in the San Diego area. The performance includes music, dance, film, paintings, and photography.
Delivering a political or environmental message through art can be a powerful tool. It can also be a tricky one: striking the right balance between creativity and communicating a cause is a challenge. These elements are rarely woven together successfully without compromising the artistic integrity of the work or trivializing the message it carries. Kudos to Sibylle Szaggars for successfully managing this delicate balancing act.
Complex works of art do not demand simple actions, but instead encourage reflection, and hopefully change and transformation as well. But slowly, incrementally, like the definition of a “sea change“. Rather than being spurred to a particular political action, I hope that people who experience this work and others like it will come to new ways of seeing and thinking about the world and the environment.