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Does art have any value?

Quotes from Yann Martel, "Life of Pi": "That's what fiction [painting] is about, isn't it, the selective transforming of reality? The twisting of it to bring out its essence?" "If we, citizens, do not support our artists, then we sacrifice out imagination on the altar of crude reality and we end up believing in nothing and having worthless dreams."

My father once told me, when I started studying art, that I was wasting my time for art had no value - couldn't eat it or wear it. My response was: if that is true, then why in every civilization and in all times are there artists, and why when a tyrannical government takes over, its first task is to control or eliminate the intellectuals and the artists. No value, indeed. I had left law school to study art, so he was obviously upset, but talk about a profession rampant with no value! To be fair, in the end, he supported my efforts and bought some paintings to help me. And speaking of value, the progenitor of the artist was the shaman, the wise one of the tribe who understood the necessity of visible world to be in harmony with the unseen one, and made the magic that connected the dual reality of the tribe with the unseen forces governing it, thus ensuring its survival. That is the legacy of all the arts. How's that for value? A little different than making a pretty picture to hang on a wall, although I like a well made pretty picture...maybe adding some beauty into the world is enough. -D


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