Relations between Art and Life
Art is life, not something to be placed in a shrine and substituted for life. Actually, art is an attempt to create, besides the real world, a more human entity. Moreover, a true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection. Indeed, even those who regard art as an ideal and artists as idealists cannot deny that art is a faithful mirror of the life and civilization of a period. Everyone concedes what Nehru said that the Indian civilization of the past periods was full of life; it created things of beauty, the arts flourished, and the echoes reached distant countries. Nehru was also stating the reality when he said that the art of people is a true mirror of their minds. Both arts and crafts have indeed close connections with life, there is no line of demarcation between arts, crafts, and life when the arts have really been an integral constituent of the people’s daily existence. Obviously, it is impossible to separate art, or the arts from life, they are a part and parcel of it. The notion can also be expounded by saying that when life declines and the standards of living deteriorate, art also declines.
To say that art is only confined to the artist-the painter, the sculptor, the dancer, the musician, the singer, or other craft man is to take a needlessly rigid and restricted view. Real art is all-round illumination and adds stature of life. The object of art, it has been well said, is to crystallize human emotions into thought, and then fix it in the concrete from. After all, a painter thinks, reflects for a long time, endeavors to imagine something good and pat, has a vision or a dream, and then draws a picture, a drawing or rounds clay or mental into a figure he has dreamed or thought of. Sine dreams, thoughts, and vision are all a part of our life, art is also very much a part of our existence. Even the illusions, which often get reflected in masterpieces of art, can be entertained only by human beings of talent and cannot, therefore be separated from life.
An unfortunate aspect of life in the modern world is that misconceptions about art and artists, and about their role, have been expanding fast. Anyone, it is said, who finds a way to make a lamp or some other artistic piece out of a Campa-Cola bottle gets more protection than a humble man who creates a work of real art. This is indeed a distortion of values in the world of art; really talented artists often starve because of the lack of patronage by those who lead a life devoted to the unartistic activity. An artist who revolts against man’s fate. In life may or may not get adequate encouragement. Moreover, what passes for “art” in today’s world may in reality be fraud or cheap initiation of a masterpiece. Again, is it not true that the measure of the reactor is the amount of life he puts into his work.
A real work of art has to be full of life; if it is lifeless and soulless or dull, it evidently lacks life. Who can deny that a painting or a piece of sculpture has great appeal if it is life-like, emanating vigor and activity and if it inspires human feelings? Besides, the real artist is he who does not cater to cheap tastes or panders to the low, inhuman, or base instincts of men and women. If an artist sells himself for the baser things, he is a traitor to art.
True art grasps, rediscovers and shows to our reality which human beings tend to forget and from which we often seek to getaway. Art, like most human beings, is temperamental; it is no secret that artists, poets, and musicians work when they get the requisite inspiration. Dictation and imposition of authority are what art and artists firmly resent. In this sense art is an intense form of individualism. Even so, art should never seek popularity; on the contrary, people should endeavor to value art and make themselves artistic as far as they can.
Life itself is an art, and though artists and poets may seem visionaries, they have a specific and distinct role to play. The irony, however, is that if art and artists keep on to live in a world of their own, far removed from life, they may have to starve unless they are able to get permanent and affluent patrons. Art and artists are now being patronized and encouraged by the Government of India and the state governments. But official patronage alone cannot be a lasting guarantee of the prosperity of art; the people themselves must learn to appreciate art in whichever form it comes before them.
Life itself is an art. The swing of the pendulum may raise the art. to the skies or bring it down crashing to the earth. Experimentation is what art thrives on, and such experimentation, as in science, ultimately proves highly beneficial to society. The progress in art shows the progress of a country and its innermost character. The relationship is, therefore, intimate and is becoming increasingly obvious.