Wednesday, June 1, 2011
RELATING ART TO COMPASSION.
I would like to publish in this blog, and a number of other entries that I have now put onto my blog, my concern that art should be a healing process. Here I am not just thinking of painting, or of writing, but of life as a whole. Some years ago a French priest called Fr. Thiery came to visit me. He was interested in art and compassion. He showed me a number of paintings that he had collected from different countries where he has been active, that concerned compassion. What do we mean by "compassion"? Is it just another word for "pity", which would imply an attitude that often seems to make individuals dependent, and to lose a sense of self worth. Compassion, I would suggest is not the emotion of pity. Rather it is a liberating energy that values human beings for what they are. Yes there is the idea of service, of self sacrifice, of being available to others, and sharing in their suffering. But what we are calling compassion, should ultimately be something joyful and transforming. That is the idea of compassion that I have tried to explore through my own art. Compassion affirms life, and also has a profound sense of hope. It looks for the beautiful, and is linked to a whole attitude to creation and the elemental, which sees the spirit as being at one with the physical. I also believe that it is through compassion that we can dialogue with other people, and discover what is beautiful and meaningful in their own spiritual lives. This is how I would understand art as compassion, being also in the service of inter faith dialogue.