It starts with a “Q”…

What can art & literature do for me?

Can it pay for my daily food?

Can it pay for our my monthly house rent?

Can it pay for my yearly education?

Not really, not always but sometime and for someone it can forever change the way one lives one’s life. But for all of us though in a small way will definitively change our outlook towards life thereafter.

There is indeed an innate power hidden behind these twin facets of art and literature that can literally empower and make us truly powerful…

Each one of us have our quality and ability we could be standing either side of the spectrum. For instance we may have that instinctive potential to make our mark in one of these forms of art or facets of literature. Other way we have cultivate that quality to understand and appreciate the forms of art and literature. These subtle engagement may not make money for us but they will surreptitiously shape our ideas, stimulate our imaginations and make us think widely and deeply on so many different things that we otherwise would have ignored or neglected. There is life beyond the tangibles, the materialistic thing and the money, as much we need the physical well-being we need to equally take care of our mental health and emotional well-being. It’s the twin power of soft convergence, and its the perfect synergy that we need to discover. Indeed it is a wonderful process of self-exploration…

It is precisely here that art and literature plays such a vital role but it gets shadowed under the massive umbrella of science and technology that has taken us in its full grip, and it is vice-like and we are sucked into it vents of vortex and we are literally lost in the wilderness of glamour, glitter, gadgets to the grinds of daily life so much so that we have no clue what it is needed to live a meaningful life. We became a lost soul heedlessly wandering in the wilderness…

Art and Literature is such an important aspect of our life but somehow doesn’t get the space it deserves. We are to be blamed.

There is an inbuilt irony. The logical question is that if it is so important why then it doesn’t get the required space for meaningful engagement in life. Is that we don’t have enough space or we don’t have the time or something else is keeping us at bay. As simple it may sound because we simply don’t give the space and why don’t we give it precisely because we don’t appreciate as we don’t invest the time to understand the very essence of art and literature. Again the invariable question comes back to haunt us if it has good return of investment why don’t we invest.

Now it has reached a stage where it appears somewhat cryptic and we are utterly confused. Aren’t we, yes we are should be our unanimous answer. Simple and straight. We get a clarity when we are confused and we get confused when we attempt to learn something new and understand its nuanced complexity. If it is simple and known in general why break our head and where is the question of confusion as we are familiar with or know the facts or we are seize of the matter. In a way art and literature has so many different dimensions and facets of flavors that we are bound to get confused. The soul of clarity emerges from the body of confusion. It is a good state to be and this leads us to a better state of understanding. We then learn to appreciate the facets of flavour when we start trying and tasting the variegated spread. Art has its own of spread and literature has its own set of spread. These are not mutually exclusive sets. There is a Venn diagram depicts the set of intersections between art and literature. There is a space where the spread gets subtly overlapped and only a connoisseur of art and literature can separate the spread having that distinction fluidly joined.

Let’s try to check the spread and see how it can tease our taste buds and to what extent it temps our appetite and meet our gastronomical height.

There are different flavors of art. The four main genres of art are visual arts, literary arts, performing arts and multidisciplinary arts. The visual arts are further divided as painting, sculpting to photography. The literary arts are further divided as drama and poetry. The performing arts are further divided as music, dance and theater. The multi-disciplinary includes a combination of art and are divided as small screen plays to the screenplays on big screen.

There are different dimensions to literature. The four main genres are poetry, prose, drama, and non-fiction.

Poetry are written in nuanced line and rhythmic stanza instead of simple sentences and narrative paragraphs. There are rules to the number of lines and stanzas but poetry bring different fragrance when it breaks the rule though not always. Prose are written in sentences and paragraphs unlike the lines and stanzas that constructs the structure of poetry. In both these cases of poetry and prose the figurative language makes a significant difference and it includes the use of literary devices like simile to metaphor to allegory to alliteration to hyperbole to onomatopoeia. The purpose of using these extended devices are that the standard set of words available in our language portfolio aren’t always adequate to capture the complete spectrum of our emotions and imagination that is in full play. Poetry are considered the oldest form of literature. The typical types of prose are the short stories and novels. In poetry the focus is in the recurring flow and the formation of soothing sound. In prose the focus significantly shifts into the design of plots and putting the characters in perspective.

There is this confusion that crops up when we speak of drama as the word play immediately comes into the fray of discussion.

The two words ‘drama‘ and ‘play‘ gets invariably used interchangeably and the nuanced difference gets summarily buried in the heat of the exchange of these similar usage words. Any text meant to be performed rather than read can be termed as drama. The bulk of this text is in the form of dialogues. A play includes written dialogue between characters for the purpose of theatrical performance. The theater is the stage where the play drives the drama. It could be real or imaginary characters. In drama, predominately the characters are imaginary in nature. Drama can be comedy or tragedy. Plays are meant to be performed whereas drama are primarily written for reading purpose. Both poetry and drama belongs to the category of fiction whereas prose belongs to the non-fiction category.

We can always state that art is art why do we have to further classify art in different forms of art.

We have visual art and we have performing art. There are distinct that makes the art form depict different degree of appreciation. For instance visual art form is primarily a product of hand work whereas the performing art is combined product of hand, body and voice. The visual arts could be two dimensional or three dimensional depending on how and where it is depicted. For instance we can have a simple sketch on a drawing paper to creating a three dimensional effect of a painting on a two dimensional canvas to actually capturing the three dimensional aspect of an object in a sculpture or in an architecture. 

As regard the performing art is considered it needs a stage and it needs audience to make the performance count while being performed. The performing artists does it’s act live on a stage i.e. theater play or the performing artists could do it backstage and gets it acts recorded for the screenplay. When it comes to literary art it literally takes us into the domain of literature where the written stuff matter and it is here that art and literature converge presenting a wonderful blend of creativity that exemplifies in its full glory. It connects creativity and writing. We need the script to be written to be performed in a stage or showed on the screen.

In art whether it is painting or photography, and in literature whether it is poetry or prose what matters is the soul of creativity. No matter whether we are dealing with visual art or performing art, or we are dealing with fictional characters or non-fictional characters we need voice of creativity to do the talking.

It is the drama that is written to be performed connects the two aspects of art and literature in a dramatic fashion. There are stories and novel gets adapted into motion picture, and in the process both literary prose and performing art converge and seamlessly merge to convey a sublime experience to viewer who has read the story. The picture that we visualized reading the book is no more restricted to his imagination but is visible on the screen. Our perspective changes when literature moves into art, and literary work gets the motion to its emotions, and characters are in front of us and the plot gets unfolded.

Art and literature are different forms and medium to engage our emotions through expression. Once these was different and distinct in their manifestation with mediums getting merged art and literature is getting converged, and we are seeing new facets to the old faces and it is only taking creativity to heights.  

Art and literature may not always change the world but it will definitely change the way we think and empower those we envision to make a difference in the world. There are artistes and there are writers, and there are actors, and they look at the world differently, and by doing so they create a whole new body of perspectives which makes a huge difference to lives of many people who lack developing those valued perspectives.

Artists and art lovers acts like the evangelists. Writers and literary critiques are like the examiners… both play their part and keep them apart is an uncanny relationship that keeps growing between the writers and the artists.

Nihar R Pradhan              

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