The definition of art has taken on many forms ever since its evolution from cave art during the stone age (when the sole purpose of art was said to be the need to transmit information) to contemporary art since the second half of the 20th century wherein art is not bound by a single objective.
Leo Tolstoy’s What is Art? (1896), a treatise concerning the nature and purpose of art, does not define art in terms of its ability to express form and beauty, but instead defines art in terms of its ability to communicate concepts of morality. According to Tolstoy, art cannot be defined as an activity which produces beauty, rather it is an important means of expression of any experience or of any aspect of the human condition.
Tolstoy defines art as an expression of a feeling or experience in such a way that the audience to whom the art is directed can share that feeling or experience. However, the more that art restricts itself to a particular audience, the more obscure and incomprehensible it becomes to people outside that particular audience, he states.
According to Tolstoy, the most important quality of any work of art is its sincerity. He claims that professionalism causes a lack of sincerity in the artist, and argues that if an artist must earn a living by producing art, then the art which is produced is more likely to be false and insincere.
On the other hand, Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, attributes much of art to the intellect’s amazing ability to recognise patterns and the human tendency to imitate. Humans clearly take pleasure in discovering likenesses, and according to Aristotle, much of our compulsive need to create art comes from this pleasure. However, imitation is not the only purpose of art.
To take it a step further, Aristotle believed that part of the artistic exercise was not only to capture what we see, but to make it more extraordinary by removing its imperfections. According to Aristotle, art is an attempt to grasp at universal truths in individual happenstances. He took a particular interest in tragedy through art, which he described as an ‘imitation of action’.
Artists in Oman, when asked to choose relevant words to represent the three alphabets of the word ‘ART’, fished out a whole range of meaningful words that not only represented how they view art but also provided a window to their own mindsets. Most also said the ability to think creatively and out of the box, as well as the need to present inspiration in diverse artistic forms is what sets artists apart from other human beings. And, if granted one wish, most wished for creating meaningful art with far reaching consequences for a better world.
1. What words would you choose to represent the alphabets A R T?
2. What makes artists different from other human beings?
3. If granted one wish for your artistic career, what would you wish for?
1. A – Avocado, R – Rhododendron, T – Tambourine.
2. Openness to accept ideas.
3. To have my at projected on the walls of Red Fort and forts of Muscat.
1. Always Remember about your Time – because we artists don’t know what it really means!
2. Thank God, you reminded me. But, we are being human rather than human beings.
3. To have my own store of painting material, so that I can have access to it at any time.
Dr Hafsa Banu
1. A – Aesthetic, R – Respect, T – Tranquility.
2. Artists belong to a different world all together. Their perception and imagination of beauty and everything in this world and beyond is way different from other humans.
3. I wish I could meet and work with more like-minded artists who have the same perception and outlook like I do – a sense of acceptance, unique yet different.
1. A – Artwork, R – Represent, T – Talent.
2. What makes me different from others is that I always try to look at things from outside the box or from a creative perspective, a beautiful angle.
3. I wish to be fully devoted to improve art knowledge in Oman.
1. A – Art, R – Remember, T – Timeliness.
2. What makes artists different from others is their vision.
3. I wish for appreciation, in the true sense.
Hafsa Abdullah Salim al Tamimi
1. A – Art & heart, R – Reality, T – Talent.
2. What makes artists stand out from the rest is their sense of feeling.
3. I wish to be be very famous, such that everyone around the world should view my art.
1. A – Abstract, R – Relaxing, T – Thankful.
2. All human beings are artists, some of them have just forgotten it…
3. A masterpiece.
1. Ability to Recreate the True form.
2. Ability to see beyond the image or form. An artist doesn’t just see a white cloud, he/she sees purple, blue, grey, white, pink, forms that resemble another object. Sometimes, their vision could be compared to the way children see the world.
3. Publishing a book with my writing and drawings.
1. Always Ready to Think.
2. His/her inner self.
3. To hang art in 100 Omani villas.
1. A – Ability, R – Right direction, T – Talent.
2. Creativity and inspiration, and using the power of inspiration and imagination.
3. I wish to present my works of art in museums and galleries, and let my works reach private collections and culture/art lovers.
1. A – Artistry, R – Rejuvenating, T – Treat (a treat to the eyes).
2. The ability to look at things from a different perspective. The ability to make even the mundane things look interesting.
3. My thoughts are always racing ahead and I always feel I don’t have enough time to complete what I have in mind. My wish would be to catch up with my thoughts.
1. A – Artist, R – Read, T – Thought.
2. What makes an artist different is, often they are vulnerable, deeply sensitive people who look at the world differently due to their wild imagination and influences. But, they display themselves to the world regardless of this.
3. My dream is for Oman to have its own pavilion in the Venice Biennale and for myself to be a participating artist.