Friday, April 15, 2016

#131 out of a thousand ways to have a happy artist's life - De-colonization

"Simple Life in the Back Roads"  collage by Lani, textures by FlyPaper. 
I read an article on Art Therapists for Social Responsibility FB group, "We Need A Decolonized, Not A 'Diverse' Education."  It was short, and well worth reading and pondering.  One thing that jumped out at me was the idea of inhabiting or occupying marginal spaces, "...practice inhabiting marginal spaces..."  was the directive.  So much of our lives within the dominant culture is about trying to get to the "center," to look like we fit in there, hoping to pass for dominant culture, and hoping no one ostracizes us for our differences.  I believe THIS is the essence of colonization, identification with those we perceive to be cool or powerful.  So much of our relationship with the dominant culture is about being colonized, and that it happens with our consent (sort of).  But we  may not realize it unless we practice inhabiting marginal spaces from time to time.

So how do we find and occupy these marginal spaces?  How do we learn to appreciate the margins?  As artists, I believe the fastest route to authenticity and de-colonization is by creating art every day, for ourselves, for our own enjoyment.  With practice, art making can be a quiet time of reflection, a time of turning away from the pressures of the dominant culture and a time for exploration of the "back roads," and if you allow it, beyond the reach of the mediocre and ever so boring, mundane mainstream.  There is a great deal of life and freedom in the marginal spaces, which leads to a happy artist's life.  May we all find and enjoy the simple and beautiful life in the back roads.