Life thrives in the light of being. Life can also thrive in the dark. Like life, art must be felt, in all that words multitudes of meanings. To hear a Bob Marley song, such as Get Up, Stand Up or Redemption Songs, or to view Gerald Sekoto’s paintings and to watch and experience Musa Hlatshwayo’s expertly articulated choreography, the sounds, the colours, the textures, the sweat of the moving bodies … It is sometimes not enough to feel these things with the senses. There is a feeling for the beyond.
But this is how I first wrote these words:
Art thrives in communities
Through civilization –
Without community there is no Art
Without community there is no Indutsry
Although Art is created by the daring deed, the industriousness of the Artist
The Artist is often diminished without the audience, the people, the ears, eyes and even the superfluously nonchalant light of recognition –
While Art need not be appreciated or recognized by the masses for its validation
It requires no validation or confirmation at all, as much as it thrives in the open
as well as in the mysterious shrouds of anonymity. Art does not merely imitate life. Art is Life itself.
If you have not heard grown women and men howling and moaning during a Bokani Dyer, Nduduzo Makhathini or Madala Kunene performance or getting Spirited away through a Bheki Khoza or Tlale Makhene composition, perhaps you have been present at a Abdullah Ibrahim solo piano listening session …Perhaps you have not been present while Sibongile Khumalo sings Mountain Shade, or her renditions of the Princess Magogo songss. . .
But have you heard Dee Dee Bridgewater’s Love & Peace album where she sings Lonely Woman or The Tokyo Blues?
And then there are visual Artists in the city of Durban, people such as Mthobisi Maphumulo, Nhlanhla Chonco and the consummate portrait master Philani Luthuli. Luthuli’s latest work on Jazz legends from Bheki Mseleku to Miles Davis is a work a breath short of a true resurrection of these masters…
There is Poetry in the city called Durban, and the word is lived and loved. There are as many platforms for the delivery and appreciation of the Written and the Spoken Word that one would be forgiven in thinking that the walls are sustained by verbs and nouns, punchlines, admonitions and technicolor-ed metaphors and even proverbs. Our poets are as much soulful singers as they are ministers of a myriad of Gospels. There are private hell’s as much as there are real and imagined heavens. All you have to do is visit the Nowadays Poets at the BAT Centre since the year 2000. Listen to Word Lord Ingo aka Ingonyama, listen well to Nkosinathi Ntuli aka MAverick Renegade or to the sonorous voices of the Sisters and the youth who pour their hearts onto pages ….and you will know that Art is Life …