Christian Long

Ravin Agrawal: 10 Young Indian Artists to Watch

In TED Talks on April 21, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Reflection by ABBIE P.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Ravin Agrawal:  10 Young Indian Artists to Watch

Although I am an extremely fine-art oriented person, I’m rather ignorant when it comes to this form of art. I’m more inclined towards sound.  Though I dabble a little into photography and photo manipulation, I cannot imagine how hard these young artists must have worked. I know very little about painting and sculpture, and though it may not mean much coming from someone who can hardly draw a stick figure, I find these artists inspiring.

In some ways, visual art has been cheapened just as much as music has (as I have discussed, and will further discuss in future responses). People buy works of art that appeals to them visually, but doesn’t necessarily mean anything more to them than that it compliments the colour of the cabinets. Music gets popular because it’s fun to dance to, or has funny lyrics that don’t necessarily give off a positive image of a person or group. Although it doesn’t apply to evert person on this planet, I find it easy to say with confidence because it’s directed at the mainstream. Once something becomes a part of ‘the norm,’ people are raised to accept it, and eventually there may not be a single person left who truly appreciates art. I find these artists so compelling because they’re young, and they’ve already figured out how to use their culture to create something of substance, while still following the stereotype that art has to be ‘pretty.’

Whether or not they’re the most skilled artists in India means nothing. They’ve each created something within today’s standards that still has some emotional quality to it. I read some of the comments posted below the video, and one in particular stuck out to me.

“been there done that ? what happened to the thousands who on the streets produce the same type of work and in many cases higher quality ?
Are they dumped for the sell-able people ?

I must admit we are creating a fixed focus on a few middle class actions ..I remember SOUSA….come on I know you can do better than this …be inspired creation gave you a wider choose so use the inspiration on the streets as I have seen many works by poor kids that would blow the minds of India and inspire thousands more.” (Barry Worwood)

I find the arguement compelling, but I have to disagree. I only bring it up because it brings me to another point about art. I fully understand that quality is important, but meaning is so much more. There are probably millions of undiscovered artists out there with tons of skill & pieces that could move even Oscar the Grouch, but that doesn’t take away from what is being presented.

All forms of art, whether it be painting, music, acting, or dance, are meant to send a message. It doesn’t matter what that message consists of, it is going to be depicted differently by everyone who recieves it. If everyone takes something differently from it, then the amount of meaning varies as well. The song about poverty is going to mean something to everyone who hears it, but to the single mom who worked two jobs and still barely had enough to put food on the table, it’s going to mean a heck of a lot more. Whereas, to someone who has never felt the burden of poverty, but empathizes nonetheless, the song about heartbreak might have more meaning, no matter how many times it has been done before.

I love what Ravin has done because he has given deserving artists a spotlight that they otherwise may not have recieved. These kids have had a chance to send their message because one man looked at their work and decided that it meant something.


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