I agree with with Freire’s notion in Reading the Word and the World, that “only by learning the significance could they know how to memorize it, to fix it”. He was referring to words, and semantics, rather than syntax, that relate to emotions and memory. Meaning is associated with knowledge and insight. It sparks interest and attention. Memorizing mechanically, as Freire mentioned, isn’t deeply rooted in our understanding of the text. It holds no significance and remains unauthentic. Without in depth understanding of the meaning of the text, the reader wouldn’t gain memorable information. Example, I’m most likely not going to remember Antonio Gramsci’s term “counterhegemony” included in the his text. I do know that counter is a prefix, and both definitions, however I do not know what the concept stands for. Therefore, I’ll not remember this blend. It’s irrelevant to my mind, and I wasn’t interested enough to look it up on Standford’s encyclopedia. Freire stressed that when he taught, he only explained the syntax part of the language, when it related to word choice to emphasize on the beauty of the language. Reading involves a creative process because the words that we write, and say, is through our perception of the world. It requires a process of assimilation in our minds, thus we are able to create meaning and something memorable. As poet and a vocalist, it’s hard for me to memorize the lyrical poems I wrote to impress my band-mates or audience, or essential make political statements per request. I remember the personal lyrics more easily, like the angry lyrics about at a guy who hurt me. Strangely enough, I prefer singing those songs too, and shouting through the mic. I’m expressing myself, and releasing emotions and feelings of resentment. Words, whether written, said or sung, are meaningful when they stir our emotions. This applies to any form of art too.
In an interview, Harrell Fletcher points out that sympathy, an emotion, takes part in his artistic projects. Human connection seemed notable in Fletcher’s art, he wanted to appeal to his audience through their presence, collaboration and own experiences. I have several musician friends who prefer jamming with other artists, rather than performing live, and I can understand why. We inspire one another. Artists or people in general are willing to share their skills, talents, knowledge, information, and personal stories. I learned from Fletcher’s art that making magnificent art pieces or objects, and displaying them in a space where they are thought to belong, isn’t the only way to appeal to an audience. It might appeal to the art critics, and critics are usually egotistic. How can they generate critique if they don’t think highly of themselves, personal knowledge or experience? Fletcher broke that isolated artist ego, and reached out. Both he and his art didn’t have to be the center of attention. That’s how I feel as a lead singer, when I’m on stage and eyes are on me. It makes me feel uncomfortable sometimes, especially when I’m performing at a shady bar. I like how Harrell Fletcher opened the doors of opportunity for the public, and have the interested individuals in the community have an opportunity to express themselves. Fletcher asked interested participants to do a creative activity, record and submit their annoyances; the sounds that annoyed them. While various emotions and different perceptions could be caused by such display, it is part of an appealing art project that involved society, and relied on their sentiment. His move got plenty of ideas in my head. What if I don’t have to be on a stage? Why not create music events that involve audience participation with instruments, and their voices, not just band performances like we usually have in festivals. Music and activism have always coincided together, mainly political activism. The people have a voice, and their artistic or activist contribution should be always welcomed.
In Majozo’s To Search for the Good, he sheds light a the role of the artist and activist, calling both roles a single entity. Art serves the function of self-transformation, and transformation of the community. Viewing art is a separate entity that’s not part of our being and existence is dreadful. It is a rigid Western conception that doesn’t relate to the objects that surround us, and finds them purposeless. Like the original African view on art, Majozo explains, it’s a transformational process. The functions of art should be stressed on in all different societies. It would be an easy task too, unless we are dealing with a religious and conservative group, but in general it just needs to be communicated. Art exists all around us. Its benefits should be highlighted. Members of the community or the societies as a whole, need to be reminded of that, because art doesn’t get enough credit, and it’s usually taken for granted, so are the artists. Art pertains to our senses, and emotions. Art is a gateway to creativity as it opens doors as it has the ability to alter perceptions. It can be life-changing and empowering. Majozo advises artists to respond to the community needs, especially in the public sphere. He suggested interacting with the members of the community, and drawing their attention to artistic projects. I believe that’s something that isolated artists should take his advice to heart. And there is nothing wrong with an artist wanting isolation of course. Majozo recommended that artists would have dream time. A process to isolate the artist from the community in order to develop work that adheres to the needs of one’s community. This might consider emotional healing, as well as advocacy, artistic, and transformational intentions.
When I read Arlene Goldbard‘s, I felt as though my emotions were validated. It’s such an encouraging read for any kind of artist. Goldbard makes me proud to be an artist, and hope this advocacy for arts-based learning in public education, and communities would live on. It’s good to know that a government agency supports artists who serve their communities.