In a world of texting, emailing, and ‘elf yourself’ video cards sent around for Christmas, it is so amazingly soothing to go back to basic crafts and to spend hours cutting, coloring, gluing and handwriting Christmas cards for loved ones. I suspect that as we speed into the future, taking the time to be invested in hand-made craft projects will be a thing of the past, when most things as we know them would be mass-produced and the charm of uniqueness lost forever. The last two days, we took the time, we played Christmas songs, created cards, ate cookies and had lovely long conversations. Another memory for the treasure box.
There are times when the ideas and thoughts that sprout out of our fertile imagination appear to be out of this world to our reasoning mind. We tend to compare them to what has been done before or to what the current trend is and then hurry to dismiss them as a state of temporary madness. But what if new art can only arrive to us in a new never before seen form? What if it must look crazy for it to be real? What if it demand us to be brave enough to step into the realms of the unknown for it to show itself?
So much of what we base our lives on and let influence almost every step of our daily goings on lies in realms we cannot touch, see, feel or even comprehend. We eat because of ‘hunger’, we sleep due to ‘exhaustion’, we give because of ‘care’, we sacrifice because of ‘love’, we run because of ‘fear’, we procreate because of ‘passion’, we create because of ‘art’, …
All of these qualities, essences, emotions, we are not able to fully comprehend let alone define. I read somewhere (I think it was in the book ‘a brief history of everything’ ) that it is creativity that causes cosmos and not chance. If we were to be really creative as we were meant to be and to be instrumental in bringing new realms from the universe to where we are for human race enhancement, then shouldn’t we be using our utmost creativity, mind, soul and honed skills to do that rather than just being and hoping it will happen by itself, by chance?
Weren’t we gifted with our faculties in the hope that we would use a bit more than 10% of this incredible human machinery?
For the love and search of Art…
There was a time in the late 80’s and early 90’s when Soho and its converted lofts and warehouses, was home to art and artists that were seeking a place far enough from the mundane to be able to create. It was a time when this area felt so unique, so inspiring and so special. Actors, artists, writers, musicians, dancer, they all moved there and lived in wonderful anonymity. Then commercialism arrived and we watched it slowly transform this area into a huge faceless mall. And as Art appears to be shy, it fled and found new areas to inhabit. Nolita was one new home and later Chelsea and the meat packing district. Because somehow art and commercialism cannot be good roommates.
In Sihanoukville there is a bright and wonderful project growing that brings hope and a better future for hundreds of children. The Cambodian Children’s Painting Project enrolls children in a program where their local staff and volunteers instruct them daily in painting, arts, and basic learning and help them to sell their artwork in order to have a better life away from the streets. I had the great chance to spend a few days with the children and staff of ccpp where my face hurt from the constant smiling, because being around such a bright endeavor, the only thing you can really do is smile. Happy children, joyful and caring instructors, warm volunteers, beautiful art, just a wonderful environment!
photo taken: Children during an english class at CCPP in Sihanoukville.
Each time I go back to Lebanon I find myself stunned again and again at the amount of talent, creativity and ‘ability to do’ that lives in the Lebanese people. These are people that love life so much that they can celebrate it in a million unique ways. But the greatest mystery of all and the most difficult thing to understand is how a country of bright minds can allow corruption to still rule the day. For example, in Lebanon today and since the end of the civil war in 1991, homes still have to tolerate unreasonable rationing and live without power for several hours every day. Those in charge blame it on the aftereffects of the war and people have no choice but to live with fabrications that not only rob them of their rights but also lock them into impossible situations that limit their capabilities to express their fountain of creativity. I know that corruption finds fertile ground in almsot all developing countries, but it hurts endlessly to see it infecting my beloved jewel of the middle east.
photo taken: small boy in window~ North Lebanon