Maria Popova’s post “The Great Arab-American Painter, Poet, and Philosopher Kahlil Gibran on Why Artists Make Art” includes this quote from Gibran about the birthplace of “art and artists”.
I would open my heart and carry it in my hand so that others may know also; for there is no deeper desire than the desire of being revealed. We all want that little light in us to be taken from under the bushel. The first poet must have suffered much when the cave-dwellers laughed at his mad words. He would have given his bow and arrows and lion skin, everything he possessed, just to have his fellow-men know the delight and the passion which the sunset had created in his soul. And yet, is it not this mystic pain — the pain of not being known — that gives birth to art and artists?
On the one hand, I can’t help but read this as saying that art is born out of a need to be seen and acknowledged, a kind of exhibitionism. I suppose that makes sense. I don’t claim to be an artist of any significance but I do often feel a need for my work to be seen (even as I accept that, for the most part, it won’t).
On a related note, Popova’s post reminds me of Neil Gaiman’s advice to “make good art“. He arrives at this advice from a slightly different direction but I suspect he wouldn’t disagree too much with Gibran’s thoughts.
Image credit: fré sonneveld