From Our Executive Director
Patchwork Indy continues to look for ways to add our voices to the narrative when it comes to immigrant and refugee communities. More than anything we want to give people the opportunity to look through the eyes of someone else to understand lives, cultures, and the challenges others face as they make their way in the world.
We are preparing an art exhibition, Mirrors of a Common Destiny, and a Spirit and Place event, Art Feeding Empathy, that will give people a chance to see the world from the perspective of artists from both the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burma (Myanmar). As these artists tell their stories and display their artwork, we invite you to be part of these events. Come with an open heart and an open mind and let the message of the medium impact the way you see the world.
Bruce Garrison, Executive Director
Spirit & Place - November 12, 2023
Refugees from Burma and the Democratic Republic of Congo share a belief in freedom and democracy. Even with different cultures and languages, still we are all one in the conflicts that we face. Join us for a conversation on art, empathy, and what it means to see the world through someone else's eyes.
Register here: https://attend.indypl.org/event/9177272
How Art Nourished Spirit, Koffi Koevi
While most relate art to esthetic character and its beautiful power to seduce and please, does art limit its definition to only the level of beauty?
Much further than reflecting the only beautiful character and seduction power, art in its essence holds many functions and roles that are beyond what we can literally imagine. Referring to Friedrich Hegel, contemporary philosopher, “The beauty of art is superior to natural beauty because it is a product of spirit.”
Here, the expression product of spirit does not only stand for the esthetic character, it moves beyond that and expresses the role of communicating what can be a possible if not a potential solution to the issues of society. From here we can easily make relevant the importance of art as a bridge of presenting solutions and not just that but also the high goal of highlighting the constant awareness of what can be a potential danger or wellness.
As the artist is also a member of the society, the pain of society as well as its wellness is automatically a portion of his heritage, so it becomes essential for him to contribute or participate in addressing if not highlighting whatever is going on. We can smoothly notice this in some engagement art and social justice art activists.
More relevant, the artistic expression of beauty, emotion, empathy, authenticity as well as its natural character push Jean Jacques Rousseau, a social philosopher, to use the term art as value of a common good, the way in which we identify and unlock knowledge on what can stand as the most high value. Some of us might have indirectly expressed this religiously in the past. It is a special way that we either pray, praise, or simply connect to something higher than us that our reasoning or logic can not comprehend nor define. All we say about it is it feels good.
Here is how the Rousseau concept comes in. Rousseau said if we take a closer look and pay more attention to the character and role of art, we can figure out that it holds some code that can actually educate us and heal us from certain disabilities and evils that are affecting us to reach the full potential of being human. This can be explained well by the concept of peace that we all hope for. Here, the global peace upon a nation, continent or even in the world are all illusional. The peace as human value has a foundational root at an individual level.
It starts within us working to unlock the artistic code of being who we truly mean to be. It is comparable to what I call the internal war of the liberation of me from me. Winning this balances me to gain the equilibrium in order to access peace, and when I’m in peace with myself, it impacts my immediate environment. As my family is impacted by peace they become an artisan of peace, happiness, and joy wherever they go or wherever they are, they spread peace. And since this is a fruit of spirit, an artistic value, it can move from you to your family, from your family to your community, and from there to your region, your country, continent and in the world.
This is an efficient role that art plays, and it is its way of nourishing our spirit with knowledge and education to upgrade if not get closer to the value of the common good and our mission of being human. It is along this line that Patchwork Indy is writing our part of the history by bringing all of us together to stand and nourish our spirit.
Koffi is a member of the board of Patchwork Indy. He is originally from Togo, West Africa and has a background in anthropology. He continues to help us think through why we do what we do as an organization.
Mirrors of Common Destiny