Art Equals Peace

It is actually very sad, and at the same time funny to be presenting papers, or conducting workshops on Peacebuilding through the Arts because Arts is really about peace-it has one and the same meaning, only the spelling is different. Yet, time and again, we have to convince other people, especially funding bodies that what we do is essentially peacemaking.

An example of how Art equals Peace is this experience I had when I attended the Flying Circus Project 2000 in Singapore. The 21-day workshop-interaction organized by Theatreworks, Ltd. based in Singapore gathered 75 dance, theatre, music, traditional, visual, and film artists all over Asia, many of who did not speak English. Of course there were translators. All the time, we were sitting on the floor in circles or semi-circles. There were sessions where we would listen to an artist resource person who would share his/her work. We would watch live performances, video shows, and slideshow presentations of these artists’ works, after which, we would talk endlessly about the presentation, where we argued a lot. Some discussions became heated or boring enough for some of us to leave these sessions. The only time that we laughed together and felt our kinship and solidarity was when we performed together. These were the moments of pure peace and contentment. In the end, some of us who have become real friends agreed in one of our over-lunch teté-a-tetés that whenever we opened our mouths to talk about an idea and try to convince the others about this idea, an argument ensues. But all philosophical and pedagogical differences are wiped out when we break into song or dance.

ART AS A RELATIONSHIP

Art is about reflecting your life, another person’s life, or another creature’s life on stage, on canvass, and in verses, the difference being an entire life is captured in a few moments of performance (theatre) and exposure (film), a few strokes (painting), or a few words (poetry).

But art as a mirror requires: 1) knowledge and understanding of the subject, and 2) communication. When you try to paint a stone, you are actually trying to understand what a stone feels like, where its curves lie, why it’s chipped on one side. When a performer portrays the role of a devil or a dictator, s/he tries to put him/herself on that creature’s shoes and tries to feel what that creature is feeling.

Art is about communication. When you paint a picture and hang it on the wall, people are bound to look at it and even try to analyze it. They may or may not get what you’re trying to say, but the fact that people actually stop and look and try, if desperately, to understand that piece of work, is the beginning of real communication.

A lot of conflicts are the result of the lack of communication.

Artists project onto the canvas, or paper, or onstage their feelings and thoughts and philosophies about certain subject matters. When a child draws on paper what seems to be senseless, vigorous strokes of scratches and lines and endless circles, the child may be trying to say I am disturbed, I am angry, I am hopeless. An ordinary person seeing this piece of confused work is actually seeing a piece of art drawn by a child trying to say that his/her life is, indeed, confused.

ART AS A BLIND PERSON’S JOURNEY

Art is about magnifying or detailing certain things about life. Artists notice lots of things around us that “non-artists” don’t. A blind person carries with him/her sensibilities and sensitivities akin to that of an artist. Because a blind person does not have visual references which to hang on to, all his/her other senses compensate for a visual disability by working double time, and twice over. So do artists. They are very keen at observing little things, mostly things that we take for granted, like cracks on walls, and a blade of grass bent in another direction.

As a non-blind person doing a blind person’s journey, you are actually afraid to take a step forward because you are thrown in a different perspective, presented with a different point of view. A lot of biases and conflicts arise from very set beliefs, opinions, cultural patterns, and political frameworks borne out of years of social conditioning in the homes, in schools, on TV, in movies, etc. So when another point of view is presented to you-one that you have not experienced, the immediate reaction is resistance, a refusal to take that crucial first step forward and embrace that new space, that new dimension, in order to understand more comprehensively the world and how it works.

It is common to think of artists as free spirits, good-only-for-entertainment human beings. I was once invited to sing in a women’s conference and I was introduced as an artist with no political stand or affiliations but they invited me because I was a woman and I knew a few women’s songs. We have common mis-perceptions of artists as having no political backbone, when in fact many of our artistic creations-whether they are paintings of a fish or stars or flowers-are political. The images that we show are our political statements. “Nature is beautiful” is as much political as the statement “stop the war.”

And with art, everything is beautiful. Even your anger, when expressed on a piece of paper, is a beautiful thing. In this sense, artists are, indeed, blind.

ART AS A TOOL FOR HEALING AND PEACEMAKING

In the olden days in some indigenous communities, two people expressed their anger for each other by chanting or playing the flute or some other instrument. Imagine a world where arguments are settled through song.

When we’re really stressed out, angry, or depressed, we go out and watch a movie (film arts), we gormandize on food (culinary arts), we splurge on new clothes (fashion arts), we listen to classical or rock music (music arts).

Art is everywhere-it is as basic as food, without which we’d all be killing each other, which is what is happening now, because there isn’t enough art to serve 70 million Filipinos, for example. To calm ourselves and make this world a “peaceful” place to live in, we kill those who make us angry. We kill over parking space. We kill over an uncooked dinner.

Because art has become inaccessible. You need money to watch a movie. You need money to buy food. You need money to buy clothes. You need money to buy a cd playern or an ipod. You need money to buy costumes and make-up and paint and canvasses and stage props. Poverty and inequity has reduced art into an activity available only to a select few. And those who have so much produce entertainment shows and other pseudo-art that reinforces poverty and inequity. And the cycle goes on.

PEOPLE AS PRODUCERS, RATHER THAN CONSUMERS OF ART

Herein lies the difference, the gap, and the greatest challenge for us all as peacemakers and peacebuilders. More often than not, we are consumers, rather than producers of art. But do you notice how children-especially poor children-are the best examples of art producers, yet little do we recognize their natural artistic talents? In the absence of money to buy toys, poor children create toys out of tin cans, stones, leaves, found objects-in adult terms, appropriate technology. This is their way of handling poverty. But this is not enough.

How we translate or elevate these natural talents into a conscious, institutionalized and programmatic art-making is the challenge for development workers and especially for government-so that art, which was once upon a time a language spoken by every member of the community, is reclaimed by every single human being as his/her own.

Imagine a world where every human being is an artist.

An Overview On Art Shoes

Nowadays shoes have turned out to be one of the most important fashion accessories. Fashion conscious men and women love wearing matching shoes that goes best with their outfits. Apart from offering protection from germs and dust, shoes have now gathered an important place in fashion. A dress looks incomplete without a matching pair of footwear. Art shoes have gained a prominent place in the shoe industry. These shoes are available in a lot of styles, patterns, colours and sizes. So, pamper your feet with this stylish footwear.

Men and women both have a fascination for these fashionable art shoes. You are sure to fall in love with your feet once you start wearing these shoes. They have become one of most popular shoe brands in the footwear industry offering high level of comfort to the feet.

Footwear were initially introduced in order to protect the feet from harmful dust and germs. The shoes manufacturers designed the shoes just for covering the feet. The designs were thus very simple. But nowadays since fashion plays an important role in the lives of most of the individuals, the fashion conscious people are no longer interested in wearing simple shoes. They prefer wearing shoes that are uniquely designed as well as comfortable and durable. This demand has led to the increasing demand of art footwear.

The main focus of art footwear manufacturers is to provide comfortable and stylish shoes for both the genders. A wide variety of art shoes are nowadays available in market. Men’s art footwear includes boots, smart footwear, casual shoes, slippers, designer shoes and others. Some of the popular women’s art footwear includes heeled boots, clog shoes, sandals, platform footwear and such others. The stylish designs and excellent quality material have made this shoe brand one of the most popular among shoe buffs in the world.

Art shoes are very colourful and look bright. You can wear them with any kinds of outfit. Varieties of colour are available. So, you are sure to find a pair of shoes that matches with the colour of your outfit. In fact, it is the unique design and colour of these shoes that sets them apart from other brands and makes them identifiable even from far away distant. These shoes have a hand finish. By wearing a pair of these shoes, you are sure to keep up with the latest trends of fashion.

One of most popular women’s art footwear is Art 0619 Oteiza boot. It offers fashion, style as well as high level of comfort. The pull grain leather upper and small mould natural rubber heel makes these boots give a unique look. The side buckle and zip up fasting adds a feminine touch to these boots.

Men love wearing Art Skyline Shoes. They are a stylish and uniquely designed pair of shoes from Art footwear. The trainer features 100% rubber sole and stitches running up the front.

So, if you want to look smart and trendy, buy a pair of shoes from Art footwear. There are many online shoe shops selling this footwear brand. Just browse through the net and get a pair of these footwear for yourself from a reputed and reliable online shoe store.

Guide to Choosing A Fashion Design School

A successful future in the fashion design industry depends on right choice of school to attend. Although fashion design is not one of the more popular careers to pursue, if your talents lie in this field, there is ample opportunity awaiting you. However, the first thing to hurdle is your choice of school.

When choosing a fashion design school, consider the following factors.

Area of Focus

Look into the nature of the school. Is it solely a fashion design school or does it offer other courses. Is this school well-known for its emphasis on fashion design?

Fashion design schools are few and far between. This makes it harder to choose one that fits your bill. Your first task will be to find a reputable school that will aid you in your training.

Also, look into whether the school participates in any fashion design competition or has accomplished anything of renown in the industry. This is a sure sign of their commitment to the fashion arts its education among students.

Different schools have different strengths, find a school that plays to your strengths and has specialization in the field of your choice.

For example, you might choose a very well-know fashion design school only to find out that they specialize in childrens’ clothing, while the field of your choice is adult formal wear. This could diffuse your interests, and dull your specialization.

Make sure you know what field the school you are scouting focuses on. This will help you specialize in that area too.

Alumni and Job Placements

Does the college offer job placement assistance? And has the alumni from this school gone on to be successful professionals? Always learn from other’s previous experience. If you see that those that had gone through this school before you received proper training and are successful in their field, that is an indication of a good school.

Most of these reputable schools have numerous connections in the graphic arts industry. They usually offer job placement services. You may want to consider this when choosing a school.

It would do no harm to start looking at the educational background of your admired fashion designer. Checking out the schools they came from will give an idea of the sort of training these artists went through. From here, you may make decisions as to whether you would like to choose the same school as they did.

Curriculum

You must assess whether the curriculum is relevant to you field of study. You may want to compare the curricula of different schools to see which offers the best form of education.

It would also be wise to check the quality of the teaching staff at that school. Having established artists who teach at a fashion design school is also an indication of a good training program.

Student to Teacher Ratio

Ask yourself: how big are the classes and how many teachers and classes are available at this school before you choose it. The more the students the lesser the efficacy of the teacher. However, if there are too few students per teacher, that could tell of a different problem – that of quality. If this is the case, it may be that the school is not popular or is suffering from anemic academic performance.

Accreditation

Accreditation means the school has passed a certain standards of educational quality. Accreditation is performed by the U.S. Department of Education. Fashion design schools must be accredited to prove their level of competence.

Check with the State Postsecondary School Licensing Bureau to see if the college you are investigating is accredited. Also, check National Approval and Accreditation for this concern.

Cost

Some people may proclaim that to obtain their education, they would spare no coin. Unfortunately, it also pays to be practical in your choice of fashion design school. If the school you choose has a tuition rate that is beyond your financial capability, you might find yourself working unable to pursue your studies consistently due to the financial stress which may lead you to look for part-time work.

Scholarships

You might want to consider whether the design school you are looking at offers any scholarships. You also might want to know the terms to them too. Some schools offer scholarships based on academic performance. Some offer them based on fashion design competitions they hold regularly.

Your choice of school is an investment that will last you a lifetime. Proper care and investigation in choosing such is truly important. When you are comfortable with your choice of fashion design schools, you can now chart your path towards a successful career.