Art is activism

In case you’re ever, ever feeling like your work is inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, or that your work is insignificant in the face of poverty or world hunger….or basically that it’s all-round rubbish, here’s two people standing behind you who say otherwise.

Keep making, keep failing, keep moving forward.

1: Haruki Murakami, novelist

Referring to a number of tragedies such as 9/11 and the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami came to the conclusion that the one thing he could do to help ease the suffering of others was to keep writing novels: 

“I was wondering what could I do for the people who have suffered. But I thought, ‘What I can do is to write good fiction.’ After all, when I write a good story, good fiction, we can understand each other if you are a reader and I’m a writer,” Murakami said. “There is a special secret passage between us, and we can send a message to each other. So I think (writing good stories) is a way I can contribute to society or people in the world.”

2: Amanda Palmer, musician

This brings Amanda Palmer’s defense of making art in an attempt to change the world, as proclaimed in her song Ukulele Anthem –

imagine there’s no music, imagine there are no songs
imagine that john lennon wasn’t shot in front of his apartment
imagine if john lennon had composed “imagine” on the ukulele
maybe folks would have more clearly got the message

you may think my approach is simple-minded and naïve
like if you want to save the world then why not quit and feed the hungry
but people for millennia have needed music to survive
and that’s why i’ve promised john that i will not feel guilty