A Kick in the Head? Really?
What is going on?
Why would anyone destroy a work of ART?
A violent scene of the destruction of public statues is nothing new in the history of humanity. Recently, I considered the historical context of what I’ve been watching on TV recently when I saw groups of people destroying public statues and literally kinking the a sculpture’s head as it bounded in the street after a violent encounter with anti-art protesators. But their anger is not really at the art, but at the memories and ideas that the art reminds them of from the past. This is something that has taken place for centuries, in every culture. When people feel like victims and that they have no voice, destruction of art and artifacts happens. Often, this anger is over political or religious differences and based on historical clashes.
As an artist, I am well aware of how a piece of art can affect people. It can be affirming and positive to them – or – it can make them feel insecure and threatened. Art makes a powerful statement and different people can interpret a variety of ways. we view a piece of art through our own personal lens and world view. Sometimes, we can even view it through the lens of an entire culture, and not individually. This is when it can become a threat and cause resentment and anger many times.
This group-think type of behavior is quite interesting to SEE and makes us ASK, “What is going on?” Is art really that dangerous to humanity? Seems like a strange way of behaving, doesn’t it! But, this has been happening for centuries, and is not something unique or new in our own time.
Some serious research into past historical events, from the Ancient to Contemporary cultures, will provide examples of this same behavior. But in most of the past circumstances, the general public didn’t have television to view it every day like we do now. I’ts also happening in other countries around the world besides here in the United States of America. Seems senseless, doesn’t it!
Is ART Dangerous?
Art always reflects the heart and soul of a civilization.
Art is ALWAYS viewed as the FIRST TARGET that must be DESTROYED by invading people groups. The destruction of ART is the beginning of what is to follow. Destruction of the nation’s art and the burning of libraries and books – go hand in hand. You see, those things are dangerous for they reflect the ability to THINK and to show a Collective Consciousness and PRIDE in their country. Invading groups want to destroy any artifact that reveals a nation’s PRIDE and THOUGHTS about life in the time in which they are living.
For the Greeks.
As a Humanities Professor, when I was lecturing on Greek Culture, I was always asked, “Why do all the statues have missing arms or heads? Why are the statues all broken up and why are they buried under the rubble of buildings?” We have to THINK about why the statues are broken up and body parts missing, and why is there so much rubble from buildings that were magnificent?
It’s always the same answer – another culture who wanted to conquer them came to destroy the culture that made the statues and buildings. For the Greeks, it was the Romans who flooded into their country and destroyed everything in sight and enslaved the Greeks. Yet after they destroyed the Greek cities, the Romans enslaved the Greek artists and sculptors and made them make ROMAN works. Every culture that destroys another culture, will TAKE the IDEAS from the ART of the conquered culture’s country and remake it into their OWN. It is RE-Presented as their own art. (Check out Greco-Roman art to see what I mean!
Culture is what people left behind – the ART. We can know the heart and mind of a people by viewing their art. In the art we see their IDEAS.
For the Romans.
It was barbarian tribes who lived in areas surrounding Rome, and also those foreign people were permitted to enter Rome and were given citizenship. They flooded into the country, and became a fifth column, that brought Rome down. These invaders were Islamic and even the insides of the beautifully decorated Roman buildings were white-washed over to destroy the stories and scenes on the walls that were crafted in mosaic.
We have seen in our own lifetime, the destruction of ancient Buddhist statues in remote mountain areas, blasted or pulled down by Islamic radicals. We have seen museums vandalized and priceless artifacts from the ancient past destroyed by invading hoards of ignorant and violent people.
We see this same hatred of art in our own country recently. Just like the plunderers of the Greek Art Works, a hand-full of Zealots are destroying statues – works of art. The destructive individuals appear to be in a frenzy.
I have to wonder if any of them have ever taken the effort to dig into their own cultural roots. I mean, the thousands of years of their migrations and influences and the overall big picture of their very own history. I think their ancestors would be ashamed at their lack of respect for the land and the laws in which they live presently. But we have far more in common than we have differences.
What Do We Have in Common?
Every people group in this world has been persecuted at some point in the long historical past. We find that such movement of various people groups over the thousands of years from one geographical place to another. When we begin doing work in ancestry, we soon see the migrations of the various people groups – and I mean ALL of them. We are ALL descendants of a VARIETY of people groups – every people group on this planet has roots from a variety of cultures. When you get your DNA done and you begin doing research, you soon learn you are a descent of about 6 or more, different people groups from wide areas of the world.
Anarchy ALWAYS pinpoints the CULTURAL ARTIFACTS of a country or people group to DESTROY as a way of trying to destroy that very culture. They are trying to destroy Cultural Memory – but they don’t even know what that is. Angry people from a variety of cultural backgrounds are at work today to destroy their own world. Each individually involved in anarchy and destruction of public art is really giving their own culture a kick in the head.
As with all art, it is the perception of it that makes the difference. We have be be able to view it through the lens of others as well as our own world view. That makes a big difference.
_____Copyright, August 20, 2017. Lynda McKinney Lambert. All rights reserved. _____
Lynda McKinney Lambert
Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage (Kota Press), 2002.
Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems, DLD Books, 2017
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