June 15th, 2013 by shashankji

On Art as a statement

"If you go too much into the details, you miss the message and the beauty right in front of you" - Milan Rai

This post is inspired directly by the White Butterfly movement. My friend and an excellent visual artist - Milan Rai, has been doing a series of installations involving sticking white paper butterflies at various locations. The project has received both national and international acclaim and it inspires a message of beauty, peace and transformation.

Sadly, all good things also attract critiques. When Milan involved himself with saving the trees of Kathmandu from being cut down, one of the major criticisms he received was "Your butterflies are made of paper, and you are trying to save trees? Hypocrisy!"

Much has been said and done with this argument and I do not want to fan it in any direction. I do want to say something about the message that was lost in this struggle for technicality. The entire idea behind Milan's art was to encourage transformation. Just as a butterfly transforms from a caterpillar to something beautiful, his message was we and our city too can transform. Perhaps people misinterpreted this, or perhaps they were too eager to show faults. I am not pointing fingers, I don't think Milan would like anymore argument.

It is very easy to lose sight of in plain sight. I am not a romantic person - far from it - but if you are looking at a piece of art, a work of creativity; it is almost necessary to let go of the technicalities and try to relate on an emotional level. One cannot see the "point" of art if they try to be logical with it. If you try to watch "Lord of the Rings" and see how realistic it is then sorry you will not like one of the finest films ever made. If you see Murals and graffiti and think of how its distracting and "defacing" a building, you will never see the hard work and the usually included biting social commentary.

When you are seeing art that is making a statement, try to think of it more as a speech that is being visualized. Try to emote with it, try to see the "point" the artist is trying to make rather that "what" the art is made of. Try to see the bigger picture first, the microscope can come much later.

Keep Creating.

Read more from Shashank Shrestha