Culture is future »


"Imagination is the fuel of passion", by Tishani Doshi

Does culture / creative imagination give you a reason to hope?


Yes, it does. In a sense, the imagination is the only resource we have as artists. We live in a time where there is the greatest freedom for some and huge oppression for others; where boundaries between the private the public are blurring, as are the boundaries between reality and invention. It seems there has never been a time when the artist held so much power to present her work to the world and create her own audience with the help of the Internet, social networking groups, discussion forums… There is huge mobility it seems, without having to even move. But it is also a time where the imagination is under great threat. Where the very source of creative work is bombarded like never before, and often by those same gatekeepers that promise so many freedoms – the Internet, social networking groups, discussion forums… The artist has always known that she occupies a vulnerable position in society – now the work of the artist is not merely to create – to put it out in to the world – it goes beyond that – to a different kind of responsibility –manager, marketer, and spokesperson. I’m not sure how these new roles sit with me, but I do believe that new technologies are here to stay, and that they are going to change the way we understand stories, listen to music, and perceive paintings. And in a sense – the change of mediums is merely that – a change. The thing that has sustained us from the beginning is the power of the imagination. And as long as we have that, we always have reason to hope.


Who embodies it the best?


People with passion. I talk about artists, but of course, I mean scientists, weavers, farmers, parliamentarians, poets. The point of imagination is that it is the fuel of passion, and to me, when I see people who are deeply involved in the path they have chosen in their lives, who pursue it – not with a sense of perfection, but with a sense of devotion, who are engaged in a quest that is less to do with truth, but more to do with beauty – then I am moved, each and every time, to understand what it is about humans that motivates us, that makes us do difficult things even if an easier choice is available to us. This seems to me the heart of the issue – that you are claimed by something in life – love, passion, a calling – and with that you are not just expressing your ideas, but you are trying to make sense of what is around you. And this seems to me the most valuable quality a human being can have.


What would be the personal initiative / project / work that embodies your reason for hope?


I am interested in the margins – those shadowlands that surround us. Whether it’s the forests that are being destroyed, animals that are losing their habitats, vanishing tribes, women, children, and people with disabilities, outsiders and strangers. I think I would like to be engaged in work that brings all those things from the shadowlands to the centre. I would like to see how the world would be if there was a reversal of roles – if the powerless were to get power. I would hope – that corruption was not a universal quality, that change could be possible if only power lay in different hands

How would you like to pass it on to future generations?  


Immortality is a very human idea, and a seductive one at that. There is a deep desire for us to leave something behind – for most people, this is done through procreation. But I’ve always been more interested in creation… an artist has the chance to leave something of her ideas, passions, dreams behind in her work. Whether it lasts into the future or not is immaterial. What is important is to make it as though it will….