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Sunday, April 07, 2019

Art - A Path to Global Consciousness

Guest Post
By Meena Chopra

Meena Chopra at the Women Economic Forum Portugal 2019
“We see art as a way of knowing, as a way of researching, and as a way of touching the hearts of people and communities. It allows us to encourage things that are fun, but at the same time, critical to promoting deeper thought.”

-       Marco Kusumawijaya, an architect and urbanist. A foremost voice on sustainability

Artists are change agents and by nature have a sense of sustainability as leaders.  Art touches the very core of humanity. Therefore, art as a path to global consciousness could be a great unifying tool because of its collective nature. As an artist and creative writer, I know that my world is in a constant change. It is always facilitating and trying to be the catalyst of innovations, bringing awareness to the issues that matter and hoping to bring about change and even just raising awareness on many issues.

Alex Grey, American Artist says, “Art is an echo of the creative force that gives birth to galaxies.  Creativity is the way with which the cosmos evolves and communicates with itself. The great uplifting of humanity beyond its self destruction is the redemptive mission of art” -  The artist channels the creative force into the artistic work and the work then turns into a kind of charged battery, ready to zap the imagination of the viewer into the new way of perceiving the world. 

This is how global consciousness becomes cosmic consciousness through human consciousness and becomes a unifying factor to humanity. Therefore, throughout history, art has been a major instrument in transforming human consciousness and revolutionizing societies. It is in its nature political, because it represents a voice that will not be compromised and faded easily.

If I speak of sustainability in Canada, concerns about environment have been enormous in general with all creative people and artists and more so amidst our 'first nation artists' whose heritage lies within the land. They are close to earth and to the nature. Urban land has also been a concern of many artists.  Vancouver school of photoconceptualism deals with the subject of how it is to be living in an urban environment. They are also dealing with the subjects like racism, immigration, poverty, hunger, riots etc. Canada is also a homogeneous and exceedingly diverse society in constant progress while meeting global challenges. 

Now, some artists want to explore the eternal question of just ‘what is art’ while delving into the recesses of mind in search of that unifying factor,  while others want to protest with the things that they disagree within the society like the over consumption of the material goods and social inequalities. Many aboriginal artists are using modern and traditional techniques to express their ideas and concerns about sustainability. 

Persistently fighting the stereotypes, trans-cultural, transnational, not fitting into a box, multi-positional, shape-shifting reality that many of us in Canada feel and face. There are series of negotiations that are constantly happening in this multidimensional network that we have.  With all this Art power is emerging as a powerful global consciousness.

Art is giving the consciousness, the ability to understand the global, international, and cross-cultural sources, interconnections, institutions, events, and actions. Most important, it gives value and validity to the diversity of every type while demonstrating open-mindedness and acceptance, also effectively in settings and situations where language and culture are diverse and native. All this comes naturally to the people who are in creative fields. Artists as global citizens are generous.

Technology plays an immense role because it has made the entire world a global village. This technology also plays an important part in artists advancement of the work as global citizens. I perceive technology both as an artistic medium and also as a powerful global communication tool as it can be instrumental in giving art a global voice.

Meena Chopra' is a Toronto artist and poet. This is her address at the Women Economic Forum – WEF Portugal 2019

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