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Art to communicate?

kefio05's picture

One topic that I found extremely interesting while reading all of the articles and watching the videos, was that especially for Judith Scott, everyone described her artwork as her way to communicate with those around her. For example in the New York Times article, DiMaria states '‘‘It was pure,’’ he says. ‘‘I don’t mean to fetishize that word, but it’s true. They are using their work as a means to communicate.’’'. The powerhouse that DiMaria has made Creative Growth into is incredible, but this was one statement that made me feel a bit weird. Isn't art another way for us to express our emotions, feelings and to present our perception of objects/ life/ the world around us? If so, then isn't art a form of communication for everyone? It doesn't just have to be highlighted as a form of expression for individuals who do not identify with the manners in which our society communicates (physically and verbally). I believe this is why the sentiment of art therapy versus "outsider" art comes into play. People view the artwork as an attempt to connect with the society and therefore as art therapy, instead of looking past their biases towards the disabled individual and accepting the piece as true art. 

Yes, it is entirely true that Scott used her art as a way to communicate experiences, feelings, and emotions. I just want to push back this idea of viewing the piece of artwork as a method of communication, when this is not done to the artwork of other artists. 



smalina's picture

This makes me think about the tip Stephanie first shared with us when we first started this placement--when an artist says something that you can't understand, ask them to repeat themselves instead of just smiling and acting like you understood. What I did find when I put that in action was that not all of the artists are always speaking to be understood by me--in fact, very often, when I said "what?" because I thought an artist was speaking to me, they looked confused or frustrated for invading the conversation they were really having with themselves. Perhaps neurotypical society is trained to believe that any externalization of internal truth is an attempt at communication, when this is not the case for many neurodivergent people (and would likely not be the case for neurotypical people if we were, for example, more free to talk aloud to ourselves without judgment).