By Nii B. Andrews.
In my view, the answer to the question is, no – based on the preponderance of evidence from the authentic African tradition.
Intuitively, the idea that any human activity occurs in a manner completely divorced from other aspects of life is inaccurate and ill informed.
If we do not accept this, then we run the risk of arcane abstraction, and mumbo-jumbo.
Art, in order to be understood and appreciated by a critical mass of our people, ought to be explained within the context of the traditions, culture and the contemporary intellectual and emotional life of the society.
It also helps if it is interpreted in the light of existential problems and contemporary issues.
Such an approach enables art writing to be easily readable/ reader friendly even for those who are not necessarily interested in art, but have a lively interest in contemporary issues.
This is a critical task on account of the current levels of despondency and literacy in our society – a society that appears to have lost its way and is floundering and belching on almost all fronts.
We hit new and previously unthinkable lows every day; from the menacingly ridiculous to inaneness all laced with dollops of ignorance and dishonesty.
Con men…..and women abound; to call them reptiles or weasels will be giving what are real ecological assets a bad name.
Navel gazing now appears pandemic within the corridors of power.
The situation in Accra in particular, pushes you to reprise the rapper, Melle Mel on Grandmaster Flash’s The Message; the metropolis is “like a jungle, sometimes it makes me wonder how I keep from going under (uh-huh, uh-huh, huh huh)… Broken glass everywhere, people pissin’ on the stairs you know they just don’t care.”
But our best artists and relevant writers, continue to engage in true prophecy; they “foretell” and “forth-tell”.
They unveil the truth, justice and mercy of Providence against the naked hypocrisy and oppression stacked up and plainly visible in our deeply flawed society.
Consistent, measured and accessible analytic writing about our art might encourage a significant number of us to reject the myopic partisan lenses or misplaced reticence through which almost everything is viewed and encourage us to confront our numerous national challenges in an objective, systematic and patriotic manner.
That is why we do not do art for art’s sake; we never have and never will!
Who will benefit from such an approach?
All of us will and it should make our country a much better place where we can all indulge in the “romance of the national future”.
The alternative is unthinkable.