The theme of this article popped into my mind as I was reading There Was a Country by Chinua Achebe. Where he expressed how his career as a storyteller was tied to the need that Nigeria becomes a better country.

A dialogue ensued between two artists on what should constitute the world and inspiration an artist/writer brought to his work.

The Beautiful Artist weaved a fine picture of how art was simply an expression of beauty. She observed that a writer was first called to express beauty in her style and tone of writing, even to the effect of the content and context of the message.

“The life of the writer is one lived in two worlds: the world of ugly and disordered events and that of beauty and concord,” the beautiful artist said. “Her qualification as a writer rests on her abilities to navigate these two worlds, and more, to bring into the real world in graceful sketches the beautiful world of arts,” she explained.

She went on and said that if an artist must use his work to comment on the very existence she found herself, it should be on the beauty innate in whatever state of life that was.

The Commitment Artist in dismay at what he heard from his compatriot retorted, “Art is inextricable from the very life people live at every moment.” He explained that the physical world of an artist was the content and vigour in his work, and to make that world better was part of his mission.

“The agility in the work of an artist can only be found in his ability to express in fine tones existence around him, and this is an inescapable duty of a writer”, the commitment artist contented.

He went on and noted that some writers believed it was fine to bracket the world around them and savour their work, to simply enjoy and work to replicate in reality the joy they felt doing art. For the Commitment artist, that was yet another form of consumerism and self-adulation.

He explained, “art in all its beauty and colour must be purpose-driven or it is vain. “The writer must be committed to a course, and the enormous power in good writing requires as a moral obligation that it is used in defence of the oppressed.”

This is the end of my story.

As you reflect on the different opinions in the dialogue, what type of content do you create as a singer, an actor, a writer, a producer?

Are you a Beautiful artist or a Commitment artist?

Image courtesy of Daryh Hill

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