To budding artists like me out there
Dear fellow budding artists,
I am writing this not with the intention to attack you or to teach you something or to be smarter than you. We are all still learning and will always have to learn till we die.
I have this huge concern about artists who always mixing few cultures/traditional or modern dance movements/traditional or modern music in one artwork. I tend to do that as well, to mix javanese culture with dangdut music, chinese costume with javanese ideology, etc. It IS really interesting to mix and match every different things, but we have to keep in mind, we bear even greater responsibility for that. We have to be responsible to the audience, to our work, to the objectives of our works, and to the cultures we employ in our works as well.
We, as artists, have this huges ego that we wanna show in our work; it is about our ownership to our work. And yes, we have to show our ego in our works. But showing ego, doesnt mean that the artwork is all about us. If art is used to only exhibiting all about us, might as well ask the audience to scroll down our facebook timeline; no need to waste time and money to create art. Art has bigger purpose than just exhibiting ourselves. So, the key here, is to show the ‘me’ in our work, while at the same time making everyone has a sense of belonging to our work. That’s very hard. Very very very hard.
Now when you mix and match culture A and culture B, it is always best to know in depth if each culture before deciding to mix and match them together. You might say that your work is just a small project, dont be so serious about it. But no. Dont ever think of that. Audience are still audience. There is no ‘serious audience’ or ‘unserious audience’. Moreover, each culture that you choose… The culture itself is muchhhh older than you, please show some respect.
Let me give you an example here. Let’s say i have a project. I want to talk about cleanliness, with target audience:kids between 2-10yrs old. I use some traditional javanese movements and papua songs in my piece. What would you think?
For me, i would have this list of questions:
1. Why cleanliness?
2. What does javanese dance got to do with cleanliness?
3. What does papua music got to do with cleanliness, and also with javanese dance/culture?
4. What would you want the audience to get from ‘cleanliness’,’javanese dance’,’papua music’?
If you have researched everything so well, that’s totally fine. In fact, i would be proud of myself if i could pull this project off. But when you dont research much…and turns out you choose javanese dance and papua music just because you think there is a javanese dance movement that mimics the action of sweeping the floor and you use papua music because your sponsor is from papua and you choose cleanliness as theme because that’s the trending topic in twitter…. Oh gosh you are being….irresponsible. You try so many ways to fit this project into many reasons. You dont have a clear objective. You dont even have a clear process in creating artwork.
We, as artists, are like…tiny loudspeakers…we or our works can be the agent to promote a culture, promote a campaign, to brainwash audience, to promote understanding about something to the audience… We have that big role in our shoulder everytime we create something. Looking back at the example above… What if there is a foreigner in the audience, and after watching the show, he thinks that java island and papua are the dirtiest in the world, when your original message is just to promote cleanliness everywhere in the part of the world? What if the 2yr old kid in the audience growing up knowing that papua music is originated from hiphop and that javanese dance is all about dirty environment?
Of course im just exaggerating here…but i hope you somehow get the idea….How great our responsibilities are as artists.
That is why it takes a long process to create an artwork. That is why art is important in any civilization. That is why we do art.
Now, let’s learn more and create more works 🙂