The arts matter now more than ever as our human response to crisis seeks a means of expression

A view of life through the coronavirus crisis by journalist Siobhán McNamara

Siobhan McNamara

Reporter:

Siobhan McNamara

Email:

siobhan.mcnamara@iconicnews.ie

arts

The arts help us express and understand ourselves and the world around us

Throughout civilisation the arts have played an important role in our lives. 

Music, drama, art, sculpture, literature and more all help capture the essence of humanity at any given time. They are expressions of the full spectrum of emotions, from fear and oppression to love, joy and wonder. 

The arts help us to frame questions about what is wrong in society, to work through solutions and to better understand who we are in an ever changing world.

They challenge us to see that world through someone else’s eyes, to explore responses different to our own and as a result, to become more empathetic to the plights of others.

Arts are accessible to everybody in some shape or form, since they come from within. Music, for example can mean humming or whistling a tune to lift a mood or becoming completely absorbed in an orchestral performance, or putting a favourite band on the stereo or car radio.

It is the same with visual art, performance, photography and cinema. We can throw ourselves into experiencing art or we can enjoy it as an escape.

It is a mirror while at the same time, it creates a record of our era so that future generations can better understand us. Examples of this are Charles Dickens' descriptions of London in the 1800s, the war poems of Wilfred Owen, or in our own country, the many plays, songs,  poems and stories inspired by the events of 1916 and the preceding centuries of occupation.

The arts are also a visual way of capturing moments of beauty and awe as we see with paintings or photography.

Sadly, we find ourselves in a very difficult time for the arts and for its creators and performers. 

But it is at times of crisis that creativity thrives, and that we are most in need of its benefits.

I would really love to attend a live music event, experience the buzz of a festival, join a writers’ evening or go to a play or a musical. 

Our artists are working away behind closed doors, but sharing art is an important part of the process, and indeed, of the human condition. For now we have to make do with television, radio and digital platforms. 

Hopefully we will come out the other side of this pandemic to a celebration of our arts and their place in society.

In the meantime, keep singing, dancing, drawing, painting, playing music, composing, writing and designing. The day will come when it will all have a place in the sun.