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Why You Should Surround Youself With Art

Life is more important than art; that’s what makes art important. James Baldwin

The value of art has always been difficult to quantify. Unlike design, art serves no obvious functional purpose beyond the aesthetic. However, the sentimental, cultural and psychological value of art is immense.

Several studies have found that Art contributes to our psychological well-being and quality of life. Professor Semi Zeki conducted an experiment where volunteers were asked to look at 28 images of artwork. He found that there was an immediate reaction in the brain chemistry of the viewers; “ There have been very significant new advances in our understanding of what happens in our brains when we look at works of art. We have recently found that when we look at things we consider to be beautiful, there is increased activity in the pleasure reward centres of the brain. There is a great deal of dopamine in this area, also known as the ‘feel-good’ transmitter. Essentially, the feel-good centres are stimulated, similar to the states of love and desire.” 

This means that when we look at Art we find beautiful it feels similar to being in love. Looking at Art has also been said to create new neural pathways in our brains. A brain’s ability to grow and change connections throughout your lifetime is called plasticity or neuroplasticity. Viewing art stimulates communication between different parts of your brain through a process called “embodied cognition”. This is what happens when you look at a piece and try to find meaning in it, feeling as though you were the artist and feeling the emotions portrayed by them.

Increased neuroplasticity is important because it enhances cognitive function and the ability to learn new things (among others)

I have always maintained the opinion that if the next generation is going to value art, we must surround ourselves with it such that they grow up with Art as a relevant part of their environments and discourse. Art influences society by changing opinions, instilling values and translating experiences across space and time. As Alice Walker said “ The artist …  is the voice of the people”. Painting, sculpture, music, literature and the other arts are often considered to be the repository of a society’s collective memory. 

Art preserves what fact-based historical records cannot: how it felt to exist in a particular place at a particular time.

In our journey of post-colonial rediscovery, we have to be conscious in the creation and rebirth of our culture, and art has always been an integral part of african culture from the tribal head dresses, to the Nyero Rock Paintings, we have evidence of that significance even if the value has been eroded from our being. By fostering the creation and proliferation of Art, we decide what our narrative is, and we make sure it is not tailored to foreign ideals

This is why we should buy art, to support local artists. These artists are our friends, our children, our sisters and brothers, even our parents. They are a vital part of our society and they need us to keep doing what they do! In the words of Christine Harris

 “it’s easier and more affordable than you think to enhance your life and the life of someone else in your community”

If you still think art is for the elite then think of it as an investment. The business of flipping art can be quite lucrative. Collecting young emerging artists while they are still affordable can ensure you have assets that will be worth a lot more in the future.

The aesthetic appeal of art is not to be discounted either! Art’s power to enhance space is incredible. The right kind of art makes a space feel luxurious and inspiring. Art enables us to personalize our space and imbue it with experiences. When you welcome a person into you home or business, the look and feel of the space informs them on how to be. Grand beautiful pieces inspire awe and wonder, small intimate pieces spark curiosity and enable people to form relationships with spaces.

The potential of art in interior design and place-making is unlimited and we yet to dip our toes.

References

https://www.eveleibegallery.com/editorial/10-reasons-to-buy-art

https://ourculturemag.com/2022/02/16/the-beneficial-effect-of-art-on-our-brain/ 

https://www.masterpiecemixers.com/art-affect-culture-society/#:~:text=Art%20influences%20society%20by%20changing,of%20a%20society’s%20collective%20memory. 

Image from  : https://www.breakingtravelnews.com/ 

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