* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
To create demands a certain undergoing: surrender to a subconscious process that can yield surprising results. And yet, despite the intuitive nature of the artistic process, it is of utmost importance to be aware of the reason you create. Be conscious about what you are attempting or tempting. Know why you are doing it. Understand what you expect in return.
The intentions that motivate an act are contained within the action itself. You will never escape this. Even though the “why” of any work can be disguised or hidden, it is always present in its essential DNA. The creation ultimately always betrays the intentions of the artist. James Joyce called this invisible motivation behind a work of art “the secret cause.” This cause secretly informs the process and then becomes integral to the outcome. This secret cause determines the distance that you will journey in the process and finally, the quality of what is wrought in the heat of the making.
Anne Bogart in and then, you act: making art in an unpredictable world
Q: At the end of last Saturday’s (September 28th) post you mentioned something called, “Esala Perahera.” What is that?
A: My trip to Sri Lanka was timed so that I could observe it first hand. Here is a description from the “Insight Guide to Sri Lanka:”
The lunar month of Esala is a month for festivals and peraheras all around the island. Easily the finest and the most famous is the Esala Perahera held at Kandy over the ten days leading up to the Esala Poya (full moon) day (late July or early August). The festival dates back to ancient Anuradhapura, when the Tooth Relic (of the Buddha) was taken through the city in procession, and the pattern continues to this day, with the relic carried at the head of an enormous procession which winds its way round and round the city by night. The perahera becomes gradually longer and more lavish over the 10 days of the festival, until by the final night it has swollen to include a cast of hundreds of elephants and thousands of dancers, drummers, fire-eaters, acrobats, and many others – an extraordinary sight without parallel anywhere else in Sri Lanka, if not the whole of Asia.
I would go further and add that the Esala Perahera is one of the world’s great festivals. Who could ever imagine such a spectacle? It may be a cliché to say it, but travel is ultimately the best education.
Comments are welcome!