What Art Means to Me

Edited by: Nikhil Joseph

Art according to me remains subjective to one’s experiences, thought the process and how they go about expressing the same. It can be a handwritten letter, it can be an illustration, it can be an experience worth sharing. But always remember art is an ever-evolving medium, which breaks through religious boundaries, family traditions, personal experiences and perceptions created by the world over. For the larger good art according to me brings people together to create something which they believe in, a body of work which they would like to share with the outside world, not to be validated but to simply show the world that are many ways to express an expression. Elucidated below is my account of finding art in daily life.

A window panel carefully placed in one corner of the room exhuming confidence through great beauty creating a rather surreal space caught my sight as I entered the house. There were bells intricately placed on one side, vintage bottles adding to the already rustic feel inviting me over with the smell of dry flowers placed neatly in them. The smile was from a photograph of a young couple enthusiastically in love with each other, reminding her of how the unwavering energy has still not left their eyes as the years went by. It was then that I caught her looking at me, still smiling the same smile I was looking at in the frame a few moments ago. Her skin may have seasoned now but the smile even more beautiful, brighter. I was in a hurry, visiting her house on behalf of my mother who wanted me to pick up a dress for her to wear tonight. From how she went about explaining the photograph I stood and stared at for minutes together, I figured she had in my moment caught me wondering about how I wish happiness could be this way, today. She, of course, had no need to mention how happy they were back then, I could see that myself. She then offered me to stay to share her evening tea table, to which I readily agreed since after listening to this bit of her story I was in no hurry, anymore.

She left and came back with some tea spreading it’s effervescence through the teapot and some neatly arranged eatables, cutlery all vintage and bright coloured. While we were sipping our tea, I lost myself to thoughts of how in the race of keeping pace with the pace of time we are leaving behind simple yet captivating traditions like sharing evening tea tables and conversations. I was mesmerised by the mere fact of how she had preserved so many memories of her life in the way she was living, it was so painstakingly alluring. She told me how after ten years of her marriage her husband left them in this wide world and I was mesmerised at the fact how she kept him alive in her house even today. She told me about her children left the house as they grew up and took their own path in life. It was magical how she had not disowned them for moving on, for she understood at some point in our lives moving on becomes inevitable. But she had kept relics from the days of their childhood, to keep a piece of them with her even when they were not here.

When I got up to leave, she brought in the dress and a separate little bag for me, a gift for I was visiting her for the first time. As I stepped out of that house, I felt in myself the rush of euphoria, the euphoria of knowing something comely about life. That day I came to know that all those times when we are wandering off to faraway places to find art it is living in the most simple, most mundane, most banal realities of life. To me, at that moment, that house was an art in itself. That house prodded me of many beautiful houses that I had visited before, of their arrangements, of their walls, of their sense of life they carried, which by the way is unique to every house, of the shelves containing prime specimens each piece with a story of its own, of the tableware, of the manner of their table setting, of the demeanor how guest room had everything in its particular place. These houses are the pictorial exhibit of all the lives they have once inhabited, from the weathered walls to outlasted photo frames, these silent portrayals of life were a story in themselves, each of them if looked closely. All those imperfections, narratives, untold stories, stains on the walls, or a broken glass on framed picture or a collection of old books is art, for art is in living, in the manner of how to make that living possible. How imperfect yet intact living remains after all those years. Art is all these people, living their perfect ordinary life; art is these little moments of joy. Art is all those people who are living in these houses, manifesting art, by merely living.


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