Over time, we’ve grown increasingly insensitive to our environment. This threatens to impact our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Could art, an expression of our deepest sentiments, rescue us? Read on to find out.
What is it about Nature that so reassures and revives us? Spend an hour at the beachside or in a garden to experience that mysterious yet reassuring feeling. In addition, Nature provides fresh air, food, and water for our physical nourishment.
However, our relationship with the environment has steadily eroded over the years. One symptom of this worsening relationship – pollution – directly affects our physical health, causing a variety of ailments.
Our emotional health hasn’t been immune either. Probably due to an emptiness caused by a diminishing emotional connection with nature, we seem to have become alienated in our own world. The result: feelings of isolation, violence, and hostility.
What can restore that balance?
Art, of which music, dance, and painting are varied expressions, may be our sole refuge. Art is at once personal and universal, appealing to the universal feelings of love and friendship that dwell within each of us. It can thus bring us out of our own selves, to a deeper awareness and understanding of our environment.
I experienced this feeling at local farmers’ markets in Berkeley, USA, where I lived for a while. Live music, culinary exhibitions, and pamphlets on organic produce reinforce the importance of encouraging farmers and eating healthy. The music, art, or other exhibitions become an intrinsic part of the buying and selling at these markets. People enjoy themselves and share their experiences with others, passing on the message, as it were.
Art is so universal that it needn’t even be placed in a limited local context. That moving song or that inspirational movie might just as well be about an imminent environmental issue. And our responses can be as simple as “walking” the talk, to that nearby grocery store.
Then, we may just re-discover how to “stand and stare”, as artist W.H. Davies has exhorted us to.
Does our increasing disharmony with our environment concern you? Can art restore harmony? Weave your thoughts and let us know, right here.