Lost Creativity

An Arab Artist Says All the World Really Isn’t a Stage
Published: August 19, 2006

THERE was a time, when he was a young man, Duraid Lahham said, that he thought he might help change the world with his movies. Not anymore. Now, he says over and over, art is useless as a tool for political change.

Art cannot change anyone’s mind, he says. It never caused a terrorist to have second thoughts, never transformed a dictator into a democrat. In fact, he says, it never did much but entertain.

This was one of the saddest articles that I have read recently. I was thinking about it again today after reading it last week. It seems so surprising -- and upsetting -- that the arts don't have any power for transformation. Art has been one of the few places where people of all places and times have had true freedom of expression. Through song, dance, theatre and paint, artists have found the courage to challenge the horrors of the world. Artists have spoken out about war, governments, racism, oppression, poverty and too many other injustices to name. In an area of the world that struggles with so much injustice, has art really lost its power? Or has David Lahham lost hope?

And what happens when artists lose hope in the world? Or worse, in the power of creative action? If we are no longer brave enough to paint, produce and perform, then I fear we will lose our truest voices. If we lose our creativity, it seems that we have lost the possibility to dream. And if we are no longer creating and dreaming of a new creation, then truly hope has been lost. I suppose then Mr. Lahham is right. I can only pray that hope has not been lost in the Middle East, or anywhere else in our wonderful world. It is my deepest prayer that hope is not lost. It stirs in me the desire to paint again. Hope can never be lost, just hidden. O God, I pray.


Mystical Seeker said...

I think Duraid Lahham has succumbed to despair, by being ovewhelmed by the task of saving the world himself. Sometimes we don't realize the affect that we have on the world, and when we look at how much needs to be healed and solved, it seems daunting. But art, like a lot of other beneficial activities in the world, can help in small ways, and all we can do is our little parts towards making the world a better place. The ways that art can influence us may be subtle, but they are still important.

Pastor Peters said...

Of course Mr. Lahham has fallen into despair! How could he not?

And yet, my idealist heart refuses to give up on the possibility that art holds to transform us. It is this that saddens me. It's an idealist dream, but one dear to my heart.