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By now, most people are acutely aware of the need for change. Yet cultural change comes slowly. How will we shift the values of people and institutions quickly enough to avert the ecological and economic disasters we hear predicted daily. Can it be done in one generation? Two? Where will the inspiration for global transformation come from?
This week, the full moon on Thursday marks World Invocation Day, a day of prayer and meditation for a growing network of servers and seekers. The Great Invocation is a world prayer translated into 70 languages and dialects -a call for the spiritual direction needed to create right relationships on earth. It coincides with the start on Friday of the 100-day countdown to the International Day of Peace on September 21st, themed: The People’s Right to Peace.
We know that prayer alone will not actualize radical change. Political activism alone is not enough either. We must, in fact, use every means available to turn hearts and minds toward the principles of peace and sharing. In this newsletter we share some interesting ideas about the role the Arts can play in changing cultural mindsets.
Alain Ruche, a Kosmos Global Ambassador, writes in the current edition of Kosmos Journal about the role artists play grounding our essential humanity:
“Artists have never been more integral to the functioning of society. Artists are vibrant actors in street life, home life, interactions between people, between people and objects, and maybe soon, also between machines. Artists can explore what it means to be human at a time when people and machines are becoming integrated.”
In A New Theory of Growth, a brilliant essay by Esko Kilpi Oy, we are reminded that artists are not isolated actors; creativity and innovation occurs only in the context of cultural connection.
“The sociocultural context matters because creativity is a systemic rather than an individual phenomenon. Workable new solutions to our most pressing concerns will not appear by themselves as isolated ideas of independent people. Creativity is born in connections and in enriching interaction.”
Artists have been bearing witness and in many ways even influencing revolutionary events in Ukraine these past four months. Read Icons on the Barricades: Ukrainian Protest Art.
The compelling ability of images to tell the story of the new civilization inspires our dedication to filling Kosmos Journal with transformative beauty. We are re-sharing one of our favorite artist portfolios, A Soft Gaze into the Natural World, sheer painted fabric veils that inspired activists on a 60 mile walk for clean energy from Ripton to Burlington, Vermont with Bill McKibben.
And there is even more to share – beautiful words and works by Martin Hill and Dana Lynne Andersen.
Enjoy it all with our deepest gratitude and care. May we be the change we wish to see.
By Alain Ruche
Part One: Are We at the Tipping Point?
Culture has been described as the social programming of minds. Recent collective and global transformative events have expanded participation in public and cultural activities to include interactions among individuals, non-profit organizations, corporations and many other entities. Many are calling this phenomenon international cultural engagement.
Culture has always been present in international relations. Reciprocal gifts between ancient rulers aimed to show who they and their people were, to demonstrate power and to build lasting relationships. Culture became a component of soft power when states began to appear. During the Cold War, culture became a symbol of West-East confrontation. In the current foreign policy rapidly invaded by realpolitik, culture is regarded as desirable but not essential. However, in emerging countries, the cultural component of soft power is increasing.
By Konstantin Akinsha and Alisa Lozhkina
Artists have been at the center of the protests in Ukraine, offering murals, performances, and a golden “throne”
In January, the clashes between Ukrainian anti-government protesters and police and special forces erupted into violence. The center of Kyiv became a battlefield, with smoke from burning tires drifting overhead. Police bullets and gas grenades were met by Molotov cocktails and paving stones. During the last days of the month, while the street battle raged, masked and helmeted protesters and police in full riot gear saw a surreal sight.
Seemingly oblivious of the chaos surrounding him, a young man set up an easel between the opposing forces and worked furiously for a few hours on an oil sketch of the city in revolt. The artist, Maksim Vegera, said later that he couldn’t resist the call of history. In the tradition of Delacroix or Daumier, he found inspiration on the barricades. He wasn’t the only one. From the earliest days of the Ukrainian protests, artists have been at the center of events.
By Esko Kilpi Oy
For most of human history, creativity was held to be a privilege of supreme beings, initially, the gods who shaped the heavens and the earth, and then it was human beings who were the creators and not the helpless, dependent subjects of the wrath of the gods. We switched our views as we began to understand how the world worked. Whether this will help the human race or cause its downfall is debatable. But it would help if we realized the responsibility that comes with the new role.
Our future is tied to human creativity.
You would think that given its importance, creativity would have a very high priority among our concerns, but we face a disturbing reality if we look at what is really going on today. The arts are seen as dispensable luxuries and instead of exploring creative new solutions, cutting expenses is the approach of most managers trying to deal with global competition.
What holds true for the arts and the economy, also applies to education. The models of mass society and mass production still prevail in the world of mass education. The industrial society is re-born daily at the expense of a different sociocultural context that would embrace creativity.
Artist: Cameron Davis
The waxwing veil drawings were inspired by an encounter with a flock of cedar waxwings one late February. It was one of those despairing mornings. My mind was deep in thoughts of global climate change and watching the vitality drain out of the woods. Suddenly, I was surrounded by what seemed like a thousand cedar waxwings.
By Martin Hill
Disconnection from nature is a recent occurrence. Humans have been deeply rooted in ecology and totally dependent on local climate and food sources for ninety percent of the time we have existed on earth.I think the need for direct connection with the natural world is dialed into our genes. Disconnection is making us dysfunctional.
Science has been telling us for some time that our way of life is threatening all forms of life including our own; unless we change direction we will end up where we are now heading—creating irreversible climate change, mass species extinctions and a collision with the natural limits of the planet.
Dana Lynne Andersen shares the Core Beliefs of Awakening Arts Academy
We believe that Art is Powerful
The power of Art can be used to degrade or to uplift the Human Spirit. While art can reflect the tawdry realities and bitter truths of the world around it, it can also imagine a world beyond the obstacles, and in doing so inspire the solutions. Art can offer the despair of nihilism or the hope of inspiring vision.
Art Can Uplift humanity
The noble purpose of art is to uplift the consciousness of both its creator and viewer. Art has the power to nurture the heart, inspire the Soul, and awaken the dormant higher capacities which propel the evolution of humanity. Art has the power to bring hope and vision to the world.
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