Arts Roles

March 29, 2009

I attended a gathering of Native Americans called Three Rivers Pow Wow on March 28.

Representatives from several nations came to La Crosse to share their culture and socialize at the UW-La Crosse campus.

This event was my first live contact with Native American songs and dances. I was not able to understand the words of their songs but the colorful clothes, rhythms and dances touched me profoundly. Unintentionally I closed my eyes and subconsciously felt meaning of their songs and traditions. I started crying without knowing the reason for that sudden sadness. I felt like being taken back in time when men, birds, wind and rivers sang the same tunes. When man was not hiding in cyberspace and human touch and storytelling had different connotations.

From the beginnings of human kind different peoples from every part of our planet had artists in their communities who witnessed, recorded and told their stories, traditions, histories, beliefs, hopes and much more.

The role of artists is of crucial importance for any human society. Performing and visual artists “speak” one, universal human language. Human love, beauty, goodness, adoration, sadness, fears, hopes, horrors, jealousy, greed etc.- artists have been capturing them all in their artworks. From thousands of years old painted caves’ walls that silently tell us life stories of long gone tribes to writers and poets who recorded the history in their books, or songs crying for lost loves and solders in historic battles, artists were always present in shadows to keep events and feelings safe from being forgotten.

Who knows, in few thousand years who will look at paintings, or ceramics, or peaces of clothing from our contemporary artists trying to understand the way of life we are conducting right now?

Tina