It is not often that I pursue a getaway into solitude. Sometimes life catches up to you however, and it seems as if stepping away from it all is the only way to feel like there is something worth living for again. There is that need for life to go on without you, just for a bit, so you can get up and start chasing it once more, until you find yourself lost and in need of finding guidance again. It truly is a never-ending cycle.
More often than not, the cause of my upheaval and exhaustion, usually stems from that of relationship struggles and unfulfilled fantasies, though this time around it has been due to far more intricately placed and gradual cries that not only affected my person, but every individual around me. The world was/is, in the simplest of terms, falling apart. The ‘deconstruction’ thinkers and literary individuals fought so long to make clear and anticipated rebellion for, decided it would get up and take place at the time when mankind itself was most vulnerable, both fiscally and in health.
In the words of my friend and writer, Ahmad Dixon, “The point of a liberal arts degree like mine isn’t to learn a skill but to learn how to think. That’s coming in handy these days because I have the critical thinking skills to look at the world and be sad about it while having no job.” A global pandemic has swept the seven continents, not to mention the speculation of another pandemic like flu on the horizon coming from China. Within a span of a few months, hundreds of thousands are dead, hospitals overrun, nurses overworked, underpaid and at risk and world leaders are conflicted either in themselves or simply with the wrong things. It was that frustration, mine own subtle at the start, but that of every individual who had been betrayed by the system sworn to protect and care for them. People are growing angrier by the day. People are being quieted and killed. Many countries who have faced colonization at some point are looking for immunities now, and it’s causing a fitnah -- for those whose ancestors fought for a country that turned their backs on, killed and enslaved them, and those of us who have suffered discrimination and had been lied to, for generations far beyond us.
I spoke with friends as I spoke with scholars, parents as I did with strangers, as to what it was that we should do. And while some ideas and solutions remain plausible, I cannot help but question how far our corrupt system would truly allow us to take this. At some point, the skepticism throws you too far ahead, questioning aspects of the future you simply cannot grasp, a world of understanding which I know would do me no good until I find myself there. And so, I left it all, for as long as I needed, until life spurted ahead of me, and gave me a reason to pick up the pace once more.
In my world, that pace is normally comprised of a level of artistic expression.
In that fact, I begin to question, why does it seem that the creation of art requires a sense of confliction? I ask myself this quite often, yet I know quite factually that, it is not a just inquiry in itself. Art is necessary because it is important -- and when does anything important not possess an element of conflict? As Dorian Batycka put in his essay, “Coronavirus, Structural Racism, Resistance, and the Future We Must Create,” “There is no such thing as being apolitical, meaning that artists must invariably come to terms with the question, what is to be done?” and yet, goes on to say, “Art today appears not only woefully inadequate, but perhaps downright insufficient and unsuitable for tackling the critical questions we now face.”
Why even study art if it does not address the questions society has avoided to answer? That has been art’s duty for as long as we have known. If not for the current generation, than the next, and if not that one than another, but where art is created with intention, it is needed. Therefore, I remained and continue to remain receptive, until those messages can be relayed through me.