FAITH has always sought to interpret its understanding of existence through art. Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, said French author and Nobel Prize winner Andre Gide, and the less the artist does the better.
Writing in the 12th century, theologian Meister Eckhart urged humanity to embrace and practise art as a way of unveiling “the truth of our deep, creative selves”.
He warned that the creative process could be as destructive as it was inspiring if it were practised only by those who did not have compassion.
Writer Virginia Woolf said the whole world was a piece of art and we were all parts of that work. She also noted that religion had in the past century generally denied creativity its rightful place in the spiritual life and that art had, therefore, become a servant of the material world.
But art never was an elitist obscurity found only in concert halls, galleries and theatres.
It exists, in its most positive form, in the writing of a letter to a loved one, in the making of a table, in conversing and making friendships, playing the clown, making love and giving birth.
The great cellist Pablo Casals had no difficulty in seeing the artist in others and often said there was really no such thing as a “professional artist”.
“I have always regarded manual labor as creative and looked with respect – and, yes, wonder – at people who work with their hands,” he said.
“It seems to me that their creativity is no less than of a violinist or a painter. It is a different sort, that is all.”
There is something of the poet, painter, musician, dancer or architect in all of us. It must be so if we are created in the image of God.