The world we live in is an interesting place, one with a rapidly changing landscape, one that is both filled with prejudice and discrimination, but also incredible progress and vision. We meet at the crossroads of this change, to create a space that celebrates expression in all of its forms. One could argue that it is the art of expression that has pushed mankind forward.
If we turn our eye to the past, to the Renaissance period. It was a time of science, of philosophy, of art, of the written word, of astronomy, of theatre. For almost 300 years, expression was perhaps the bravest thing one could do. It could either end in persecution, in death, in exile, or in the rarer cases, infamy.
You can kill a man, but you cannot kill an idea.
A statement that was true then, and still true today. For in the shadows of the Renaissance period, artists emerged in all shapes and sizes, each carrying a different vision for the world, each communicating their thoughts and ideas in unique and different ways. One particular French artist, Henri Émile Benoît Matisse, said this; “creativity takes courage.” And I can’t help but think, in his words we find a fundamental truth. To be creative in our expression opens one up to ridicule, whether that be socially or culturally. It is a noble pursuit, one that has kept the society in which we live, on it toes.
If we look at the story of mankind, the history that we accept as truth, and the change that has come with time, this progress has been driven by expression. This expression is not without fear, but rather, with the knowledge that expressing thoughts and ideas is more important than that fear. Warriors of expression are everywhere, our community is rich with them, our nation overflowing with untapped voices that are just waiting to be heard. Today, we are here to listen. To watch expression in all of its artforms come to life in front of us.
Expression isn’t just about being the creator, it is about being a connoisseur too, an avid appreciator of those who create and dare to throw their creation into the world. This act of give and take allows perspective, and it is through the perspectives of others that we can look into the mirror and see our values and beliefs differently. Sometimes this can be confronting, and other times it can be like an awakening. This is the art of expression.
For it is art that enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves all at the same time. Thomas Merton.
I am but a humble writer, and these are merely my humble observations as a lover of all things expression. From all that I have learned from the artists who have come before, at the heart of expression is the innate ability to tell a story that is true. In telling a story, the art of expression becomes a practice that is almost second nature. A practice that is crucial if our society is continue moving forward. And so to all the people out there who are taking part in the art of expression, whether as the artist, or as the humble observer, we thank you. You are the crusaders of change, you are wake up call that society often needs, you stand at the edge of human understanding and push it an inch further.
This is a both a blessing and a curse. The late great Stan Lee said it best, through one of his greatest expressions of creativity, Spider Man. “With great power comes great responsibility.” Spiderman, Stan Lee. To be the upholders of expression is to fight the good fight, to safeguard the revolutionary act of being creative, to ensure that the message we are communicating to the world is one that will push us towards a future that we have all had a hand in creating. Today, creatives represent many different mediums, we have writers, bloggers, poets, designers, illustrators, film makers, visual artists, fashion designers. Seeing the mahi of creatives and their expression of art, I know that the future I speak of is in good hands.
I will leave you with the words of a woman who is far wiser than myself. “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” And I can’t help but think that Eleanor Roosevelt had it right. Today, her words have almost been turned into a cliche, but here at Seed we have re-purposed her words. We are a community of dreamers and doers, we stand proud in this fact, we wear it like a badge of honour. It is what we’re known for, it is what we strive to be, it is an example we carry with us into the bold new world we hope to create.
The future belongs to the dreamers and doers.
Kendyl is Seed Waikato's Head of Learning and Development.