Thursday 11 February 2010

The wonder of art and memory

Ever wondered that even the silliest, funniest and embarrassing incidents take on a lovely tint when recalled. Failed lives, disastrous mistakes and the like also lose their aggressiveness as time goes by and when we think back, they appear as an experience which has left us rich and sober. The same is with art. Even a trash can overflowing with garbage looks quite artistic when expressed through a painting or a sculpture. This attribute always tends to fill me with a sense of awe and amazement.

The same trash can which overflows with dirt can be a very displeasing sight to behold turns on as a lively expression when seen through the medium of art. Despite the fact that the overflown trash can will never be emptied in the painting, it enables us to gain a different perspective to the everyday aspects of life that never fail to disturb us.

Memories also are pretty similar to trash can in a painting. Now when I look back and think of certain images from my life, I don't feel remorse or pain. I marvel at the ability of the mind to use those same images as weapons of self-embellishment and courage. I always used to have discussions with friends about memories and nostalgia -- most of the times they are only 'good' ones. Its very rare we hear people say 'This sound gives me bad memories.'

Talking of memories, it is strange how different materials become memories of something else. Talking with Barbara, my buddy from Queen's University, Belfast has enabled me to view different objects as extensions of memory which invariably is linked to life and places.

Being a person who has a memory of almost everything, I can be called as someone who 'solidifies events and freezes them in the crevices of memory.' And also looking at different art pieces down the time enables me to look at memory and art as something that preserves the freshness of everyday life albeit in different mediums. Art and memory transforms!

Picture courtesy: Internet


  1. A good post as usual. There is a difference between art and memory. Memory can be modified ever so slightly everytime we present it, that given some time it looks entirely different from what it started out to be.

  2. Govind:

    Thanks for the kind words. Yes, you are right when you say that memory can be modified. This modification is what makes art and memory similar -- The similarity is the modification from the reality.
    We can call it modified altered reality!

    Joy always.

  3. Yet another great read from you.;) Memory is a funny thing - it is very selective and subjective. You are right, with time, we censor it; perhaps as a protection, but also as a mean to be able to move on.
    I once heard a proverb, where a memory is compared to a lake with water lilies; we remember the beautiful flowers, but forget the dirty waters surrounding them.

  4. Awe, this is utterly artistic and linguistically mind-blowing. Oh, and i thought that i was a good writer!

    Mentally provoking; it inspires an influx of what Ifs and delivers an enjoyable reading process.

    Beauitul, thank you Susan for...allowing the satament of this expression as it personally managed to bewilder me.

  5. Dear Zuzana:

    Yes, memory is a very funny thing. What would we do without that? Thanks for that analogy.

    Have a lovely weekend.

    Joy always.


    Your words definitely do flatter me! You are definitely a good writer, there is no doubt. Thanks for the lovely words of appreciation.

    I am glad your being allowed the words to penetrate within you.

    Joy always.

  6. Interesting.. here's my take on the link between the two.
    It is true that bad memories loose their strength over time. Yet they do colour parts of our lives thereafter. The parallel to Art.. is that our perception of a piece of art is usually coloured by our experiences and memories.


  7. Dear BM:

    Yes, both colour our lives through the experiences they provide.

    Thanks for coming by.

    Have a fruitful weekend.

  8. memory... of that "black box" of the brain. It can give us trouble sometimes...
    anyway, I keep a diary where I write just about everything, and I love going back and reading things I wrote years ago - and usually I am amazed at my own feelings at certain incidents of my life. Things that caused me pain and sadness at the time are looked upon now with a smile. "Tragedies" are laughed at. And the memories are kept safe.
    I like the analogy with art - wouldn't have thought about it.

  9. So true, Susan. It's amazing how our memories work. I remember reading in several psychological studies that we have very poor retention for bad memories because our brains are wired to discard those memories as a way of helping us cope with the difficulties in life. And so, we find ourselves remembering things that have pleasant associations more than we remember things that are unpleasant. And even when we remember the unpleasant, we are not so heavy of heart. We are truly such amazing creatures, aren't we? How we've developed into the survivors we are!


  10. Oh- sometimes forgetting is so good... but do we really ever do?
    Memories of my past tend to come in lumps of no good memories at all... so WTH?

    Lovely post-
    Thanks for coming by and your always great and smart comments

    Happy Valentine's!

  11. Dear Khulud:

    Been a very long time. Hope all is well. I also have a journal but refrain from writing often. Even art transforms the ugly and preserves it as something beautiful. Thanks for coming by.


    Yes, the humans are definitely amazing creatures like all the other in the universe. Survivors, we are and conquerors as well.

    Joy and peace to you dear Nevine.


    Long time. Thanks for coming by and the kind words. Forgetting is good but the truth is that we never forget, we just learn to turn those bad events into experiences of learning. Isn't it?

    Happy Valentine's to you as well dear Dulce.

    Joy and peace always.

  12. Lovely post Susan :)
    An anonymous quote i read somewhere said,
    "memories are the only thing that do not change when
    everyone else does..." sounds so true...
    p.s. Loved this phrase--" I can be called as someone who 'solidifies events and freezes them in the crevices of memory." have such a wonderful way with words Susan !
    I am really glad that i came across meanderings:)
    keep writing...
    Take care...
    warm regards,

  13. Ruchi:

    You have a way of making me feel nice. Thanks for that. I am glad that you enjoyed the post.

    Your words prod me to write many more meaningful posts.

    Have a lovely Sunday ahead.

    Joy always :)

  14. So true. I tend to remember incidents more than the people themselves. Tough times can always be looked back at as a proof of our tenacity. That is the beauty of life!

    Lovely post as always Susan. :)

  15. Dear Ashley;

    Lovely to have you come by and sprinkle words. Thanks for your kind words.

    Joy always.



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