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” My art should be bigger than me”
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” My art should be bigger than me”

Works of art should be valued based on their own merit and not based on the personality or lifestyle of their creators, writes Ashlee Burnett, 21, a Correspondent from Couva in Trinidad who shares her own experience of being an artist whose work is sometimes not viewed as independent of her.

When do you separate the art and the artist? At what point is it okay to draw the line between both, having them exist independently of each other? How do you explain that the art and the artist most times aren’t the same and even in that duality of existence, there’s a venn diagram of overlapping traits, yet they aren’t the same?

Over time I’ve grown to accept the fact that great people can make awful things and awful people can make great things. But the conflict lies in knowing which to appreciate? And how do you appreciate either be excluding the next.

Have you ever connected to a work so much but then you meet the creator and now you wish
to bleach the image of their work out of every neuron in your body?

I have, and the problem for me was not that the artist was unable to be as lovely and open as her art but rather my realization that ugliness can breed beauty. My naivety hurt the most. Placing a human being on too much of a high pedastal then being consumed with disappointment when
it doesn’t end the way I expected it. Reverse.

I consider myself an ally to the LGBTQIA community. I openly voice my views on every possible platform in which I exist. Many times the outcome of being that open results in a backlash, you are almost never prepared for. I’ve found comments pasted under my posts and then the “eye” at church. Yes, I am an ally that attends church, and marches, and pride celebrations. Going public on rulings that aren’t accepted by the church has found me relieved of requests for performances I had been booked for by them.

Can tongues that support “sin” still be seen as talented? In this case can you separate the art and the artist? Truth is I don’t know. It’s weird actually. On one hand I want to believe that my art should be bigger than me, that my words are way more impactful than what I support but then it implicates the possibility that the art and the artist could ever be the same or come from the same place.  Art is universal in that, it’s one language that anyone can understand once said with enough intensity and genuineness. It has the ability to heal and to break and to unearth all things buried. Given its capability, there must be a creator. The one who is able to channel all everything into their work, unapologetically.

The argument of separating the art from the artist has been an ongoing conversation.Personally I believe that the art should be independent of its artist. How does the work make you feel  and what has it done for you? This should  stand above the personality or the lifestyle of its creator. The legacy of a creator will not only be his or her work but it’ll be a combination of everything they have ever done.

Acknowledging the impact of the art should not be synonymous with the impact of the person. In every body of the work, the byline is the smallest, fine print, the work is bigger. This is in no way to say that the artist doesn’t matter.An artist living up to the expectations of its fanbase always works well because there is no need to have the discussion or to write this blog post.

Photo credit: JD Lasica via flickr (license)

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About me: I’m a student of English language and literature at the University of the Southern Caribbean, a poet and teaching artist with the 2 Cents Movement, and a blogger and Social Media Assistant at Bocas Lit Fest . My interests lie in gender based violence, youth development and women’s rights. As a delegate to the Caribbean Regional Youth Council Policy and Advocacy Conference, I gained skill in position paper writing. My goal is to implement policies that ensure equality through equity.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/

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