Embrace works of art, whatever the content
7 months ago, 27 Maý 00:20
There is a time when there was very little creativity visible in our society and that little bit was generally controlled and moderated by the prevailing oppressive political environment of that time.
Then something happened which coincided with the opening up of the political space. Airwaves were liberalised and, all of a sudden, we had more than one channel of television and radio.
These events saw the setting in of all kinds of creative activities which became the order of the day in our media outlets.
This, together with the creative events organised in schools and colleges, gave younger people the inspiration and courage to venture into the creative sphere.
A society that does not celebrate creativity and encourage it leaves a socio-cultural vacuum that also tends to exclude a whole section of gifted people who would otherwise contribute in providing entertainment and probably even generating some economic engagement.
While it entertains, creativity also provokes society to focus on the things they would otherwise take for granted. Take comedians or singers for instance. Through their art, they are able to articulate social issues in a manner that ordinary people are not able to. In the process, they may even open the eyes of society.
Recently, a situation arose where a Kenyan girl had directed a movie which was prohibited from being viewed here at home.
They probably thought that because the content of this piece of art was about a matter that we Kenyans do not discuss too publicly or loudly, then it has to be prohibited.
Now, making and directing a movie requires a lot of creative energy.
The writer of the script has to be so observant and alert about the things that shape society and comment on such in an artistic form. Not everyone can do that.
The nature of art is such that it presents content to society which, while entertaining people, also provokes the audience and leaves questions in their minds.
It is when members of the audience start looking for answers to such questions that the artistic or cultural text makes an impact on such a society. Artistic creativity always gets its content from real events and real life experiences.
Even unconventional subjects such as homosexuality will at one point or another find their way into art. The role of social institutions such as the family, religion, education, the State and others is to be available and organised to educate society. In my humble view, blocking an artistic production – whatever the content – is reactive. Can we find a more proactive approach? If our proposed new system of education is going to focus on talent, then these are matters that should be at its core.
The writer is Dean of Students at the University of Nairobi. [email protected]
Category: oped opinion news