Basharat Bashir

‘Art’ a human tale

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In past few thousand years human beings have miraculously evolved above all other known creation. We as humans dominate all other species, with sophisticated technology and ingenious human creations we have become an undefeated force in deciding space for other species. With our practical innovations it’s up to us to decide where a lion should roar and where a deer should graze. With our ability to dominate we have expanded our arena and restricted survival of all other species according to our will.

Evaluating our practical nature and ability to invent and conquer a dominance of the world, it seems rather difficult to understand why we spend hours and even days creating a picture or a music note. What is that impulse that inspires humans to create a piece of art that appears to have no practical benefits?  And if human is a practical being by nature than, it’s unnatural for us human beings to waste our time in front of a canvas and easel. But humans have always been creating art with or without knowing the reason.  And its only humans who have the ability to create and appreciate art, but the question is why? and how it benefits us?

Despite having a practical nature humans are also led by strong emotions. And the ability to express emotions in different forms allows humans to be creative. Although creating art does not guarantee economical benefits but, humans still devote a great deal of time in learning and creating art. It may be because the satisfaction of creating something innovative with your own mind and skill offers more than a wealthy life.

As we look at some of the earliest paintings in caves they appear as visual documentaries of life of that time.  We may not know the exact reasons why a prehistoric human would spend such great amount of time and energy creating those paintings when getting a meal would have been a ruthless task, but the whole activity suggests that humans are compelled by emotions to narrate stories in their own version. Story telling is an integral part of our social interaction and perhaps it’s the oldest. We have been using art, poetry and other means to spread histories, messages and tales, and surely art of painting could be the oldest means of communication.

Alongside with storytelling beauty seems to be another reason for humans to be creative. When we behold something beautiful whether that’s a glowing sunset, snow peaked mountains, wild life or a partner it always strikes an emotional chord within us and its natural that we would try to replicate that emotion in as sincere way as possible. But the desire to recreate an emotion cannot be restricted to beauty but despair and sadness are also strong emotions that led us to create art. Keeping aside its physical functions it’s certain that Art is a strong communication tool that connects us with others.

 From last few decades art world has changed quit a lot and we witnessed some profoundly bizarre art works displayed in famous art galleries and museums.  One wonders on how a readymade ‘Urinal’ or a ‘Can of shit’ landed in the middle of emotional expressions. The reason for this is that humans have learnt to use creativity in extreme ways, art is no longer an emotional entity it has taken a broader spectrum. Now art has become a strong tool of revolt and protest. To express or to expose a social or political stigma artists do not feel shy to paint portraits with menstrual blood or to let people grope their genitals just to prove a point. Now everything is art if it’s proposed as such, regardless of any aesthetic perimeters. Well, it’s mind-boggling  that how our art world looks like but we know that from the beginning of human evolution the visual arts were probably there as a means to express the complex thoughts that were beginning to materialize in our massive brains. And understanding and appreciating art is among the unique functions of our emotional nature.

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