Nous sommes tous, Charlie!

You must be willing to push the boundaries, you must be compelling, you must feel free to be controversial.

That is Art.

Art in which we respond and react creatively; constructing, deconstructing, making and sharing. Art in which opinions are tested, taste is questioned, thoughts are challenged, eyes are opened. It is in this creativity that designers around the world have first viewed their architecture, their fashion, conveyed their knowledge of the inside of the body in anatomical illustrations, engineering studies, carpenters sketches, botanical studies. There is indescribable value in paintings and drawings, sculptures and photography, installations and new media. It is in the work we dislike in galleries that we come to realise our aesthetic values more distinctly. By doing so we can recognise the impact of our education, our place in the world, our familial values, our prejudice, our anxiety, our political and social persuasions or firmly held beliefs.


Charlie Brown … also featured in the cartoons after the Charlie Hebdo shooting. Magnus Shaw via Twitter Source: Twitter

Art is critical.

Visual literacy is as important now as ever, if not more so, in a world full of imagery. Our walls may not be covered in art, but our electronic devices, cinemas, TV screens and media will still show us images at an increasing rate. To deconstruct what we see, we must learn that art often carries an implicit meaning. Ask Rothko why two colours work well alongside each other and then discuss the same issue with advertising agencies hoping their brand will sell the most. Ask Da Vinci about his anatomical studies and then reference them against the text books of modern medical students. Technology has come on a long way but the essence of being creative visual learners is the same. I explain my idea to you and you ask me to draw it – ‘Ahh.. now I understand’.  Aesthetic values, learning, and the challenging of what we know to be true cannot be overrated. In the wake of the murder of the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo in Paris, we must, MUST stand up for the liberty which should be given to all those who question and challenge and offend. This is not a world designed to live in harmony with others. It is impossible for us to agree when at the heart of education is an attempt to develop confidence in autonomy, and in the value of debate; that we can have opposing views and both be right. The masked extremists, some of whom are currently still in hiding, took away the right of some to express, poke fun at, mock and ridicule. Those working at Charlie Hebdo held no weapons and were not on a battlefield. Brandishing graphite sticks and fine line pens, their ‘war’ was with the mediocre and mundane. They rejected that in radicalisation and extremism, of any nature, therein lies an expectation of untouchability.  They poked fun anyway. Because without humour we are left wondering how such atrocities gel into the psyche of a nation, or of a world, with terrorists becoming heroes and extremism being a one-sided battleground. Their war is fought by killing the innocent, striking down those who disagree with what THEY think. It is in multiculturalism that we learn about our differences and appreciate our similarities; as humans; global citizens. It is not multiculturalism or religion that is to blame for what happened at Charlie Hebdo. It is individuals. Individuals intent on fighting their zealous war against people who think differently, and express opposition. No liberty. No justice. No democracy. No safety. No artist should die in this way.

 Nous sommes tous Charlie!

charlie 2

Australia’s David Pope via Twitter responds to the Paris attack. Source: Supplied


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