It takes a village…

As a guest on the Art Room radio show last week with Vonnie and students Sean and Conroy, we discussed the idea of encouraging creativity in the youth of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. More specifically, what can we do (collectively speaking) to encourage young people here to externalize their internal struggles through art and creative expression, despite the society’s heavy conditioning to internalize external forces without question and challenge?

It seems that a huge part of the conflict between St. Vincent’s social revolutionaries and the society at large is a fundamental discrepancy in the understanding of creativity. While many may view the word as an umbrella term for a hobby where the output has minimal social implication if any, those on the forefront of the shift in collective consciousness regard creativity as something more. To be creative is an approach to life and the world’s problems. It is a way of thinking and the lens through which to filter one’s life experiences. These creative thinkers are the ones who question what others swallow at face value. They challenge the status quo with the hope of a more globally beneficial solution. They create rather than destroy.

The practice of art and creative expression then, is more than producing a mere painting, song, or photograph. It is a practice of direct observation, analytic deconstruction, and purposeful reflection that can result in an output of thought, experience, or emotion through a variety of means. Some may recognize this as the creative process; for those who find this experience remarkably torturous, the creative struggle. Regardless of the term used, engaging in this ritual through creative endeavors can be viewed as a type of microcosm of the larger world – a way to practice solving complex problems with an analytic framework.

In yoga we often hear teachers encourage their students to take their practice with them off of the mat. Not in the sense that the practitioner should bust out into full hanumanasana while waiting at the bus stop, but to continue practicing the yoga of compassion, acceptance, and loving kindness in the face of life’s many challenges. Likewise, when confronted with the social quandaries of our time, those who have embraced the creative thinking approach are likely to develop into the cultural pioneers and inspirational leaders we so desperately need. And given that our current global state appears, in many ways, to be flowing in a spiral of decline, this need for creative thinkers is not one that will be short-lived.

Inevitably, the youths at present will be the ones to carry the burden of the future on their shoulders. It will be their responsibility to work towards solutions to problems inherited from previous generations. In the meantime however, what can we do to ensure that those rising up are not only aware of their social responsibility, but that they will be well equipped to face those challenges when the time comes?



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Linda
    Feb 24, 2011 @ 00:30:38

    Well said, well put. I especially like, “to be creative is an approach to life and the world’s problems” as well as taking and practicing yoga off the mat 🙂 Keep up the great work! Miss you!


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