Expression runs deep in the DNA of every man. Even animals have a propensity towards expression. The dog barks at the hint of danger. A frog croaks when it desires a mate. Expression is a response to our environment. It is an umbrella term that covers speech and movement. I believe that every creature who unveils his thoughts and emotions, regardless of his level of expressiveness, is an artist. Art is not a component of expression but it is expression in itself.
The genesis of all artworks can be traced back to the genesis of the universe itself. The first ever artist, the Divine Artist, responded to his environment by proclaiming (speech) and moulding (movement), and the world came into being. The Divine Artist’s environment was null and void and he responded to its emptiness by filling it. Every artist needs a canvas. The Divine Artist’s was the universe. Others have followed in His footsteps but have been unable to match His creativity. Nonetheless, they have delivered masterpieces. Adam, the father of all men, responded to the anonymity of animals by providing them with an identity. His sons have followed suit in the art of naming, to satisfy man’s need to evoke a thought or feeling with their expression, in response to their environment. The name “Sarah” evokes royalty; the name “Emmanuel” evokes the presence of the Divine Artist.
Just as man is inclined towards expression, so too are we inclined towards evolution. Throughout history, we have invented numerous art forms. As man’s needs, desires and thinking grew, man’s way of expression responded in kind. Soon, men began to write, build, sculpt, and paint. The last-mentioned, painting, has grown to almost define what art is.
When one wishes to discuss the best works of art, The Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, The Starry Night and The Guernica come to mind. These works are rooted in history not only for their beauty, but their ambiguity. To this day, men argue about the meaning behind the Mona Lisa. Some believe it is merely the drawing of Lisa del Giocondo, the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, who tasked Leonardo da Vinci to paint a portrait of his wife as an expression of his love for her. Others claim Leonardo sought to portray androgyny through the Mona Lisa, hinting at the possibility that the woman in the portrait is neither male nor female. Regardless of what Leonardo’s true intentions were, the Mona Lisa epitomizes one of the most popular forms of expression and art, painting. Ambiguous works of art spur thoughtful discussions. Unarguably, no work of art has been the subject of debate like the universe. Its mystery is endless and beyond human understanding.
Man cannot remain quiet or still. As long as this is true, art will remain. Art provides a lens through which the inner man can be viewed. Out of the inner man comes expression. Man may die, but his expressions will live beyond him. It is through art that men are immortalised.