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Keeping the Truth Alive

Posted by John R. Daubney on December 1, 2010 at 9:20 PM

         I have long admired the artist, whatever the medium, and his or her dedication to revealing truth in their work, . In Those Who Walk with Fire, I was very fortunate to interview sculptor Bob Blood, vocalist Perley Rousseau, Cellist Ruth Alsop, playright Howard Meyer, and landscape architect Catherine Weaver among others who have dedicated their creative efforts to telling the truth as they see it, through their work. The artists  are the truth -savers of the world. These are the people who live their days close to the bone of their existence. To create, they must be connected to that place where their art originates and where, as the poet Rumi states, "Remember the lips where the wind-breath originated." To create work-from-the-soul an artist must be connected to her truth, and to be connected to that truth, can sometimes be a very painful thing, because one is left with the decision to be uniquely and honestly yourself or to play safe and allow personal invulnerability or personal gain to cloud their voice and creativity.

When a dictatorship of any type comes to power it will early-on attempt to silence those who tell the truth about what they see and think because they know the artist can only create personally satisfying work when that work honestly expresses their inner reality. The artist is considered dangerous to the state. So the poets, writers, painters, musicians  and their work must be protected and supported by us all if we are to remain a free society, true to its core values.

        "In America, or in any country, greatness in art will not be attained by the possesssion of canvases in palatial museums, by the purchase and bodily owning of art. The greatness can only come by the art spirit entering into the very life of the people, not as a thing apart, but as the greatest essential of life to each one. It is to make every life productive of light - a spiritual influence. It is to enter government and the whole material existence so the essential influence, and it alone, will keep government straight, end wars and strife; do away with material greed.

        "Any step toward such an end is a step toward human happiness. a sane and wholesome existence. "      

              Robert Henri (1865-1929), writer and artist, from his book, "The Art Spirit" copyright 1923.

 

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2 Comments

Reply Tommy B.
8:52 AM on January 16, 2011 
One of America's greatest contibutions to art is jazz, one of my passions. It feels that be reading the quote you give by Robert Henri, he may have been a listener.
Reply John R. Daubney
9:25 AM on January 16, 2011 
Tommy B. says...
One of America's greatest contibutions to art is jazz, one of my passions. It feels that be reading the quote you give by Robert Henri, he may have been a listener.

Hi Tommy
He may well have been. All Art that is honest and from the heart has the capacity to go straight to the heart and move us. Some art I don't connect to but like you, music - jazz included - moves me to a different and more spiritual level of consciousness where my relationship to the world, to myself, to my fellow human beings and to unlimited possibility becomes very real. Thank God for the artists. I was listening to a Paul Winter recording, yesterday,of one of his Winter Solstice concerts at St. John the Divine Cathedral in New York and remembering the thrill of hearing him open one of his shows by playing a clarinet solo in a dark corner of that huge Gothic building and seeing a light slowly build behind him on the stone walls. What a thrilling moment! Thank God for all the brave artists, who take the risk, day in and day out to bring us their work and keep us connected to our souls.