In the n-th week of the corona shutdown, you finally get around to the projects that have been pushed aside and neglected for too long. Organizing papers and photo albums, cleaning out the files and updating the blogs that have been left unattended. Reaching out to friends you haven’t seen or heard from in a while. Sorry about that.
It’s also a good time to quiet the mind and think. That’s not easy when you are constantly inundated with emails, phone calls and invitations to zoom. Your inbox is probably full of newsletters pitching the latest virtual museum or gallery visit, online concerts and livestream events. No doubt these are all enticing opportunities in their own right:
At a time when you have too much time on your hands, it’s easy to fall prey to the never ending drum of attention seekers. After all, that’s who we are. So when you are finished with this blog post, that video stream, the online art class, take some time to listen to your own inner voice. Tune out the distractions and find the space and time to quiet your mind. Picture your favorite place, or artwork, or character from the book you are reading in your mind’s eye. Close your eyes and let the images take you on a journey. Enjoy that moment. When you open your eyes, you may find that the space around you just got a little bit bigger, your world a little better and your patience a little bit greater.
When you return to the world full of distraction, it’s worth remembering as well that the artists whose creation we enjoy are living through their own challenging times. With museums and galleries closed, exhibitions cancelled and creative energy confined to the four walls of a studio, artists need our continued encouragement and support. If you saw an artwork you liked on your last gallery tour, reach out to the gallery or artist and let them know you are interested. Buy art if you can. Support artists in other ways as well. Let them know you care. In the weeks ahead, Project Art Lounge will be thinking of new ways to support artists. That is our passion and mission.
Two years ago, one of Project Art Lounge’s followers commented affectionately on the number of women artists who have been involved in this organization’s activities and events. This video gives testimony to why empowering women is not only important to the world of arts and culture, but to our society as a whole.
We have every reason to celebrate women after the 2018 mid-term elections in the US where some 100 women (nearly a third of the 323 women ever to serve the US house and senate) were elected. That’s a good step toward a more positive and forward looking future for America. After all, women brought us all into this world. Why wouldn’t we want them leading the way?
UPDATE: Project Art Lounge Supports Women Artists
With museums and galleries closed, exhibitions cancelled and creative energy confined to the four walls of an apartment or studio where the rent is due, it’s time to remember the art and artists that bring joy to our lives. Artists need our continued encouragement during these challenging times. If you want to support Women Artists … or all artists, you can start by donating an artist inspired face mask to someone in need. Proceeds support non-profit programs for artists.
I am not Charlie. Charlie Hebdo is Charlie. It is a claim that belongs to those cartoonists who died in the line of action. Thanks to the global outpouring of support, the meme “Je suis Charlie” now symbolizes Charlie Hebdo’s battle for freedom of expression. It will be more known now than any of his cartoons or caricatures. And that may be a good thing, because while there are differences of opinion about the use of offensive images in political cartoons, there must be zero tolerance for violence and terrorization of the free press and their exercise of our fundamental right of free speech. You don’t have to be Charlie to agree with that.
As the world stands up for Charlie, we must also think beyond the headlines and memes of the day. As powerful as the internet can be in rallying support for a good cause, it is also quick to spread evil. Today, it is more difficult than ever to distinguish between fact and fiction in the (social) media, between serious, responsible news and propaganda. No one knows this better than the PR savvy terrorists, whose own use of offensive imagery intends to shock and awe the civilized world while corralling sympathizers.
The power of satire is the ability to ridicule and shame us into re-thinking our own prejudices and behavior. Magazines like The Onion, Titanic and Charlie Hebdo are only funny and poignant to those who have the knowledge and openness of mind to understand the context. To everyone else, they are simply ridiculous and perhaps offensive. It is not enough to proclaim “Je suis Charlie” and move on. Charlie Hebdo and other satirists have more courage than that. As much as their freedom of expression, it is the willingness to consider different points of view, think critically and learn from past experience that should be their lasting legacy.
N.B. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet. The artist who made the illustration above is not Banksy, but @LucilleClerc.