Monday, August 8, 2011

Art and the Good News

It would be beneficial to explore the potency of day-to-day art especially of the poor as a method and expression of the integral evangelization and the renewal of catechesis, worship and the social apostolate proposed twenty years ago by the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II).

“In ancestral communities, art has never been split from the flow of daily activities” (Katrin De Guia). Day-to-day art in non-modern, modern & post-modern communities is art from real life. As an activity, it “improves on what it finds” in the local environment such as pebbles, dried leaves and flowers, and scrap wood, metal and cloth, and recycles and transfigures what will otherwise end up as trash or refuse. An example of day-to-day art by a “Filipino culture-bearer” is that of Gregorio ‘Boy’ Masculino (b. 1960) of Oton, Iloilo.

One has to distinguish the “everyday art” of comfortable communities from the day-to-day art of the poor, whose experiences of chaos, violence, hope and joy are not as pure and simple as some comfortable thinkers tend to think they are.
One can make a distinction between art as a product and art as an activity. The first meaning of art, the artwork, reflects in its authenticity or beauty the infinite beauty of God.

The second meaning is the act of creativity in which the artist participates in the creativity of the Spirit of the Divine Artist and cultivates a field of energy where new or deeper relationships, enabled by the same Spirit of fellowship and communion, can be discovered by the artist and his or her “audience.” In “contemporary art,” there has been a “transition from objects to relationships,” and its purpose “is to create a new space-time experience” (Sebastian Elavathingal).
For integral evangelization, inculturation, and catechetical renewal, the potency of the day-to-day art of the poor includes but goes far beyond the functional or practical purpose of helping them appreciate or digest church teachings. (Comments are welcome.)

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