I know what I know: change through art vs politics

On Friday I managed to catch an incredible documentary: “Under African Skies”. It followed Paul Simon as he journeyed back to South Africa to reunite with the musicians he collaborated with to produce the Graceland album. The film had such an impact on me, bringing me to tears on a number of occasions.

This album was very special to me. It came out when I was 10 years old and we had a cassette of it that was played almost until it could play no more. The songs have been a soundtrack for my life. My family have jammed the whole album over the years, me picking up piano accordion for renditions of “You Can Call Me Al”, and playing “Diamonds on the Souls of her Shoes” at my brother’s wedding.

It was through Graceland that I first connected to Africa. The rhythms of “Gumboots” and the deep a capella of “Homeless” somehow took me to a place that I had not experienced before. In listening to this music it seemed as if it was part of me. The idea of having a past life in southern Africa is about the only Read more

art as change | egnahc sa tra

[ art as change | change as art ]

On the weekend I had the privilege hearing Australian artist Lynette Wallworth at TEDxSydney. Lynette uses video installation, photography and film to explore our relationship with ourselves, others and the natural world. Her presentation gave a preview into her new film project Coral Rekindling Venus, which explores underwater worlds to celebrate a rare astronomical event in the transit of Venus. In Lynette’s own words she talks about her work:

Imagine global co-operation for a global problem. Imagine corals as the barometer of climate change. Imagine we are the pivot point. Imagine rekindling Venus.

My intent is to leave the audience with a sense of wonder for the complexity of the coral community and a deep-felt longing to see it survive.

It was such a beautiful example and affirmation of the role of art and film in changemaking. I have been often inspired by those changemakers who utilise art in working with people, communities and in communicating new thinking and ideas. In a world obsessed with entrepreneurship as the most effective and legitimate vehicle for change, we ignore to our detriment the power and ethic of art as a universal and enduring force for change.

Just as art is a vehicle for change, so too is change an art. Having worked extensively with changemakers over the past few years, some of the most exciting projects I have witnessed were highly creative in how they have been born and grown. I think of businesses like The Groundswell Project Read more