Art is the HeartBeat

January 11, 2024   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

Every week, writing for the Citizen, I write a feature for the Arts and Entertainment page. Some of those times, I am hunting for a story, looking to meet an artist I did not know before, on the prowl for a new project, a different idea – a fresh start. Those artists, projects and ideas are there to be met, seen, and appreciated.

Recently, even scientists began to agree that animals create art, which they defined as making and leaving a design or arrangement of natural items, something decorative for its own sake and not understandably useful. Then, they began to find all sorts of this phenomenon in fields and trees – who knows what works lie beneath the oceans’ surface?

So, now, because science says so (“Har-har,” says the elephant, we may truly understand how art is the heartbeat of all living things. It is the reflection and proof of our existence and, in many ways, our self-value. Not just us but many other creatures sharing this living space with us.

It is a virtuous compulsion to mirror what we see and feel, what our lives and our individual experiences are, primarily perhaps by telling another soul about it. How many times have you listened to or told a story, what just happened this week or a number of years ago? The person relating the incident – painful – offensive – hilarious becomes animated – pointing at the listeners to agree or deny – getting to the point – looking to their laughter or consternation. 

Suddenly, it was a piece of theatre. In the dullest, most commonplace moment, there are moments of art. Given the chance, the first indication of competence a tiny child will show is to grab a colourful crayon and make a mark with it. The seemingly random choice of colour, style and degree of the mark might be a teeny statement, an indication.

In among our so many failings, going back to our most ancient beginnings, there is plenty of undisputed evidence that, wherever we were in our development, we were telling those stories, making art in the process, leaving a record that we were there.

Orangeville is, first of all, a free outdoor art gallery and indoors, the walls need not weep for lack of cover.

Its artists are looking over the hills, breaking barriers and bringing other ideas on the habit of reflection with unusual mixes of materials and faces re-arranged and the bold “other use” of colours.

And making music – a town of concerts and festivals and knowing how wonderful it is for musicians to play, perhaps to jam, on a Saturday afternoon next to the Farmers’ market.

Music. Music is ethereal, magic, soul searching – our other selves, where many answers live. At its base, it is the art form that requires nothing but the will to raise our voices. When we raise them together in that most powerful connection of which we are capable, harmony, we open doors that lead us into a space we do not seem to discuss much – our deeply hidden talent for peace.

Okay. Lots of you will remember that rather syrupy song from the UK in the 1970s called “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (in Perfect Harmony).” There are two problems with it: firstly, that it is rather soppy and second, that advertisers took it to the USA and used it to say “and buy the world a coke…Coca- Cola.”

Another song came out by the well-loved John Lennon. He and Yoko Ono staged an event in their hotel room in Montreal in 1969 to sing “Give Peace a Chance.” The world picked up both songs and sang, especially the latter, until the “chance” seemed crushed.

However, I don’t believe it. The ’60s and the earlier ’70s were the years of reason, the first big outcry against “pollution” and chemicals in our food, the pushback against the whispers of using nuclear to solve political differences. Those were the years when might-have-been CEO’s were wearing long white shirts over their trousers and flower chains around their necks. It was a brief moment in time when the populations of this world understood that they might be able to change how history is written. Yet, the fashion faded, and people were seduced by commercialism more intensely than ever.

Music is the channel because it is a pure form of communication in which any person might participate. All beings – not just humans but all of us – sing; everywhere there is music because it only needs our voices. In many ways, it is incorruptible, too, because it belongs to no one – no computer, no corporation – no tyrant can own it.

It is not corporal but in the air, in our hearts –

I don’t know – can we sing our way into a peaceful and clean world?

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