The word ‘art’ means so many different things to different people that it can become tedious to try and define what is and isn’t art. Nevertheless, it is so pervasive in our daily lives, so fundamental to our humanity that it can’t but help influence us. A helpful definition of Art might be: A piece of creative work whose creator makes it with the intention to instill or invoke a particular feeling, idea or emotion in his audience. This may sound too broad-based a definition, but when illustrated with a few examples it will show how commonplace art is in our mundane lives.
In the home
If you’re anything like the rest of humanity, you probably have a few framed paintings hanging from the walls of your home. This is probably the first thing that comes to our minds when we think of art in our daily lives, but take a closer look. Perhaps you have a Persian carpet adorning the guest room. Notice the appeal of the floral design on it and see if it evokes something in you.
This would be one an example of art in daily life. You might go one step further and pay close attention to the design features of the electronic device you are reading this article on. You may see the flat surface, sharp edges and metallic surfaces that are associated with modern electronics. They convey a sense of an otherworldly ethereal design, almost as if they were floating in empty space. You may have seen that when new electronics are unveiled they are always presented by themselves in front of a black or empty backdrop.
There are artistic themes present even in the design of household appliances. For example, modern kitchen knifes give the impression that they are more like surgical tools to be used in an operation theatre rather than for chopping meat and onions.
Music is an excellent example of a ‘daily-life’ art. We listen uplifting music to lift our moods; we console ourselves in grief by listening to sad music; a patriotic anthem makes us feel proud and united; a light folky tune makes us feel light-hearted and at ease…In short, any mood or emotion can be stirred and shaped by its appropriate music.
Ordinary Visual Art
The conventional ‘paintings for sale in a gallery’ art does not have to be super expensive or out of the reach of ordinary mortals. After all, many of us keep cheap copies of original masterpieces or relatively cheap landscape paintings made by up-and-coming artists to adorn our homes. With the coming of the electronic age, Art has escaped its original habitat of elite studios and expensive art schools; ordinary everyday people now know all about the different schools of art and have no trouble distinguishing Picasso’s Guernica from the famous surreal art of Salvador Dali.
Up-and-coming economic powers like the UAE, are pouring time and resources into appreciating the arts, no less enthusiastically than the developed western nations. Contemporary art in Dubai in particular, seems to have taken off, quite likely helped by the needs and tastes of the large population of westerners that lives and works there. Galleries like the Mottahedan Projects, Artspace, Lawrie Shabibi, Art Sawa and many others, are popular destinations for the residents of Dubai.
If this trend continues, the idea that art—especially contemporary art—is something elitist and therefore does not belong in the daily lives of people, will hopefully be consigned to the dustbin of history.