Appropriation In Creativity
I have seen some debate on creatives working outside their culture, ethnicity, race, religion, or any other difference. This has caused me to evaluate the work I have consumed over the years.
Many creatives over time have assayed to represent characters and works that were not of like kind with themselves. This has enriched the fabric of those works. If we only illustrate ourselves, we are likely to bring forth characterizations, portraits, paintings that die an untimely death because of our eccentricities, and our lack of originality.
Life informs art. Creativity is not bound by human constructs, it is soul work and transcends fate and destiny.
I have always lived by the maxim that being copied was a form of flattery, not that I am often copied, but I have been known to see something and try to find something I could shape as mine.
America is an anomaly in that it is a smelting of various human components come together to form a nation of great accomplishment. If we borrow characters in our literature, appropriate fashion and style from various people groups, copy accents and vocabulary, take cuisine and make it ours, wear our hair the same as someone of a different tone, all this is being ourselves, being citizens of the world of a diverse universe.
It worries me that we are becoming less willing to share our cultures, fashions, thoughts, creativity, abilities. No one does well in a vacuum, it sucks the life right out of us. Sharing, generosity, kindness are attributes we can little afford to lose.
Perhaps, if we live with the guiding principle of love toward everyone, we will be less inclined to guard what we claim jealously is ours. Openness gives more significant opportunity for growth and understanding.
I am reading Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges and one of his essays, The Argentine Writer and Tradition, deals with this in a way. It moved me to write on this controversial subject, though I had thought to in the past and decided it was not something I wished to contemplate publicly.
As a prompt: Think about this subject and how you deal with it. Are you generous of spirit or do you hold back and conceal the intensity of your reality? Creativity flourishes in freedom and accelerates the breaking of chains that bind.
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