Thursday, 25 April 2013

The Arts in Waterford

There are too many people these days who fob off 'the awrts' as some sort of untouchable, ridiculously intellectual activity. Too many people think that if you walk into an exhibition and there's a lump of clay on display, you're meant to see your past life as a gold fish. People don't seem to grasp that no opinion, no interpretation is wrong: Art doesn't judge. If  a short film makes you shed a few tears, that's alright. But, if you find yourself sitting there thinking, 'what on earth did I just watch?' that's fine too. Art is nothing to be afraid of.

Although I'm not always someone to praise Waterford City, I'll have to admit that it's great for creativity and whatnot. We've got festivals upon festivals, museums upon museums, and for goodness' sake, Waterford made its name from the iconic works of crystal made in the city for centuries. It saddens me, however, that so many people are terrified of this - a lot of us (including myself, some of the time) immediately assume that appreciating something creative and different is not for us. I, myself have very fixed ideas about the art I like - I'm more of a neon-green-Virgin-Mary-statue kind of girl, I won't lie. I like disturbing stuff: Stuff that makes you think, so much so that you don't sleep for a week. For example, Gottfried Helnwein had an exhibition called 'The Last Child' all over Waterford in 2008 about children at war. The shot of a girl plastered in white face paint (pictured above) that was put slap bang on the Quay was, and still is, in my opinion, one of the best things to ever happen in Waterford. When I see pictures of it come up on Tumblr, I can't help but feel proud.

But that's not the point - the point is, everyone is allowed to appreciate art and it can be any form of art at all. There is no such thing as 'good' or 'bad' art, and equally so with the people who go and see it. There is no category they must fit or qualification they need to acquire, all they need is the willingness to try with art - to see it, to process it.

If I could change one thing about Waterford, or teach the people of Waterford (including myself) one thing, it would be that there are no boundaries with interests. Those who sneer at the multi-personality, internet oriented, 'Vogue is my vocation' girl who says she likes photography because of the colours (me, yes hello) are the ones who are missing something important with art - it's for anyone. The sooner people realise that, the better.

That's why I decided to try out for Waterford Young Arts Critics, a group that will critique and promote the creative side of owld Port Lairge. People need to know that it's fine to not understand a painting - hell, the Mona Lisa is centuries old but no one really ever understood it.. Or am I missing something?

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