acts of empowerment

Tying my shoelaces
Blowing my nose
Riding a bicycle
Learning to swim
Lighting a fire
Building a shelter from sticks and leaves
Cooking my first meal (and ever after…)
Killing a fish
Growing a radish
Reading and writing
Making a choice
Getting out of bed in the morning
Travelling to a different culture
Offering help to another in need…
 
An opportunity to become more of myself
Opening my mind to more than before
I reach around myself and stretch my perception of love
Listening more deeply I learn to hear more
 
I am nature
This is my nature
 
Exploring structures and actions that affirm my inner and my outer being
Those things that connect me to all, that integrate my being to all before and all after, in the present.
I cannot tell you what to think but can suggest a means to reveal thinking –
Responses to our condition and our complexity, as simple as it is
 
Earth and ocean and air and trees and bees
Fish and flowers
Fire, thunder and lightning
Sun and moon and stars above
 
Me and you and everything

 

acts of empowerment (video stills; p ward/f owen 2013) act of power II (video stills; pward/f owen 2013)

During a recent conversation about the application of art within sustainable development policy, conservation projects and as a response to ecological crisis it became apparent that awareness of art as a means towards empowerment, both through (re)connection to nature and our own nature, is maybe not as common knowledge[i] as I presumed. Art has often been and continues to be used politically and commercially as a means to undermine our power, a process commonly known as propaganda, so why shouldn’t a simple understanding and reversal of the mechanisms imposed within such ‘art’ be deployed in favour of ecological and social justice?!

rise up my child and become the flower that you are (mud and paint; p ward 1996) rise up my child and become the flower that you are (mud and paint; p ward 1996)

Understanding of these mechanisms is increasingly commonplace within person-centered and experiential learning and contemporary self-help techniques, as well as in healthy reflection upon events experienced in our everyday lives – methods founded on the traditional learning of indigenous cultures and the principles of ecopsychology[ii], rooted in the importance of connection to nature, place and an exploration and affirmation of individual aptitude. How such principles may be applied within our own art practices is a matter for our personal journey of self-discovery and empowerment – we can only really know and share that which we have experienced ourselves after all – their application seeming more and more pertinent as the practices of contemporary art and society increasingly (re)entwine.

act of power (ink cap ink and watercolour; p ward 1998) act of power (ink cap ink and watercolour; pward 1998)

 P Ward 2013


[i] To find out more about art and artists who have deployed and explore the mechanisms of such within their practice have a look at www.social-sculpture.org, www.universityofthetrees.org, Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire, search ecologically or socially engaged art on the web or simply just continue to read this blog.

[ii] Ecopsychology investigates and utilizes the importance of direct contact with nature in the development of a balanced psyche. Richard Louv’s popular book Last Child in the Woods – Saving our children from nature deficit disorder amply illustrates such principles, while Theodore Roszak is credited with coining the term in his 1992 book, The Voice of the Earth.

Advertisements

2 Comments on “acts of empowerment”

  1. Imke Rust says:

    I really enjoy your posts a lot and find them very interesting. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, which are very much in line with my own views.

    • pw130524 says:

      dear imke
      thank you for your comment – its always good to know there are others who are feeling and thinking and working towards similar ideals and goals. from looking at your wordpress site it seems that you are really working hard to create your work, to make it happen in the world – that is fantastic! we are part of a growing network or group of artists who are acknowledging the sanctity and wonder of the planet upon which our survival depends and trying to express this through our art – i’m really looking forward to seeing more of your work as it develops and reading about the processes and thoughts that accompany it.
      many thanks again for your thoughts and best wishes
      pete


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s