The African nation of Tanzania might not strike you as an arts and culture hotspot, yet the demand for African culture has always been high. When done properly, the passing on of art, stories, and ideas can become well-travelled without being appropriated. Placed in the right context, with the blessing of the proprietors who made it, items and ideas of specific cultural value can become treasured items the world over. This is good for the economy and Tanzania is working to ensure this remains integral to their national progress.
With the help of The Tanzania Federation of Arts and Crafts, artists are being given the tools they need to use digital platforms in their selling process. When people have more money because their business is improving, the whole community benefits. This is because these better-off individuals can afford to pay for more products and services. It is an enlightened move to promote the use of digital technology in an industry that traditionally relied on galleries and market-stalls.
The scheme was first communicated during a speech at the Bimdashi Beyond Herself exhibition at the Swami Vivekananda Cultural Center in Dar es Salaam. Including Tanzanian artists from a scope of genres, this Mother's Day themed showcase involved poetry, painting, drawing, digital art, cartoons, photography, and sculpture. During the event, Tanzanians were encouraged to visit as many exhibitions as possible, as “Art Is Medicine” - All Africa. According to a recent survey, the Tanzanian population contains up to 6 million people who identify as artists. The majority of these are painters, sculptors, and potters. This recent exhibition showcased 36 of these artists, and it is hoped the whole can be given the tools they need to sell more online.
Artists like these are exactly the kind of people I intended to help when I began my Lucid Leadership series on Medium.com
Did you get in trouble for daydreaming at school? We all lose track of the moment from time to time and become immersed in our own imagination. We either reminisce or fantasise, playing back what we remember or inventing what ifs and if onlys. Sometimes we put our imagination to use and give ourselves an inventive goal with the information that we know. No matter what the imagination and the mind's eye is being used for, the principles are the same. The skill of using the imagination is how we create new principles and objects. Our ability to create systems with rules and to produce structures and items that do amazing things based on known principles is phenomenal. Doing this is extremely difficult, too.
The imagination offers a genuine respite from unpleasant circumstances or thoughts. Sometimes we can escape a waiting room or an evening of boredom by letting our imagination take us somewhere else. Of course, there are all kinds of things out there to help us do this like music, books, and films but we don't need these things to let our imagination take over. So not only is the imagination a route to new invention, it's also a backdoor to the present situation. We can take it to where ever we want.
Imagination helps us to change the way we perceive things. Sometimes we need to imagine a different perspective before we see it in reality. The way other people look at the world is not always the same as yours and in these cases we must be able to imagine what it's like for them or we we always act contrary to their needs. Empathy is what keeps us together and enables care beyond familial relationships and this is based on the imagination. When we feel another person's emotions, we imagine them from their perspective. Sometimes it is so strong that the feeling is as strong as if it were our own.
Planning and implementing ideas involves thinking about the future and choosing which future processes will be required. By being able to imagine this in full, we can choose the best route for this time even though we are not there yet. We can achieve our results faster because we are able to foresee the work we will need to do. By assessing the various methods available to us we can decide how to best move forward. Daydreaming is the only way we will ever draw this map through time.
So it's not all fun and games. Sometimes the imagination can give us trouble. When we can't control the things we imagine for what ever reason, this can become problematic. We become the boat on the ocean of our subconscious and this takes away our ability to hold our mental processes. The inside influence from an untethered imagination can be extremely harmful. Catastrophism and wallowing with outlandish paranoias can easily push you in every possible direction. Even if you are able to filter this from your outward expressions, the inner work of keeping it in check is exhausting.
This is why the art of using the imagination needs to be paid attention to and definitely not ridiculed when done inappropriately. We need to educate each other in the way to harness this utility of mind in order to use it for our best interests.
A ventriloquist since the age of ten, comedian and performer Lachlan Werner brings his entertainment company to Brighton and Hove in the South of England. Winner of the Culture Connex x Brighton & Hove Pride Bursary, Pointy Finger productions are offering an hour of puppetry and silly voices. Unveiling various horror stories through physical comedy and an array of talking characters, spectators can enjoy the safety of congregation while feeding their morbid fascination.
Expect to meet an ego—centric witch puppet, who goes by the name of Brew, and her light-hearted sidekick Lachy. The pair invite the audience to partake in a cartoonish occult festival which of course goes wrong very quickly. Raising a destructive entity, Brew and Lachy are tasked with handling the situation. Maybe they need some of your help?
Already the act has enjoyed a sold-out run of shows in London last October, and this time the people at Brighton beach are treated to a significant diary from the 6th of May to the 5th of June. The Pointy Finger company are also running an event called Sara Segovia: SUPERNUEVA which takes on a different guise entirely.
If this is something you'd like to see then you can get your tickets online from the Brighton Fringe Website. And, according to Broadway World, you can get two for one tickets with the code POINTY.
An up-to-date field of human psychology is the study of what is termed The Museum Effect. When we visit a gallery or museum, our cognitive processes are involved with a unique environment. Instead of familiar sights and sounds, we are surrounded by something we have never seen before. The layouts and the decorations that frame our journey from exhibition to exhibition all present something unusual for our minds. Instead of being a stressful situation, most of us actually calm down during our visit. What is going on?
Some of us might not find the idea of art and culture being relaxing. It can be intimidating to be presented with an array of unknowns, not knowing what to think or say about what you see can be awkward and embarrassing. When you bear in mind that there is no wrong way to enjoy art, no wrong thought to think about it, it can be less tense. If you have something to say, say it. People value novel input.
When we look at art, we are often reminded of things from our own lives. We are given clues and pointers to various information that we hold or imaginary paths that we explore. The message of the piece is not necessarily the same for all of us, even something as well-known as David and Goliath can mean several things to various people. This process of seeing, absorbing, and inventing personal reference is something that can aid well-being and health.
When our well-being and health are promoted and encouraged, this is called flourishing. What does this actually mean though? Flourishing means that our quality of life is improving and our health is not getting worse, or if we are il, it's getting better. Fitness levels, contentment, financial freedom, psychology, and all kinds of qualifiers all go into the holistic measurement of flourishing.
Museums and art galleries have a proven effect on our quality of life. They help reduce stress and help give meaning to life. The pleasure we get from enjoying art, music, and culture is a direct solution to many minor issues that can cause our psychology to be negative. A positive outlook is essential for a good quality of life. If we let the creations of other people take our minds away from the ever day stressors and concerns, we're offered an escape from what ever might be grinding us down.
According to psychologist Dr. Jeffery Smith “In essence, the museum effect contends that when we enter a museum we are able to enter into a state of heightened contemplation that allows us to reflect about ourselves, the communities to which we belong, and society more broadly.” Therapy Tips.
The safe space presented by galleries and museums alongside the new and interesting provocations within each work, our thoughts are teased from their subconscious yarns and knitted into unique and self-relevant garments. As we explore the new ideas and reminders of things we feel strongly about, we add to our escapist story and allow the outside world to melt away. With a combined effect of new surroundings, new visuals, new sounds, and plenty of things to read and listen to, our entire living space is redefined within the confines of the exhibit.
Attempting to properly understand the principles of the museum effect can help curators better define their process to allow for the most positive experience. Interested?
Recommended read: The Museum Effect: How Museums, Libraries, and Cultural Institutions Educate and Civilize Society
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