As I write this column on the last month of this year, I have a confession to make.
It is increasingly difficult to feel optimistic about art and its location in the larger discourse of public life. Everywhere I look there is discord, unease and unrest. Opinions are freely dispensed by babes with thumbs stuck in their mouths and elsewhere anxiety is on the rise. Stuck as hundreds and thousands of Chennai-ites were in their homes with the furious rains and subsequent flooding last month, my son recommended that I watch a documentary called WINTER ON FIRE. This true story of the Ukrainian public resistance to Soviet bullying had brilliant interventions by pianists, singers and artists. Music in the midst of bombs and rubble, passionate voices lifting frigid bodies in the relentless winter was tremendously moving. Risking their lives and standing on the front lines facing police bullets, these artists stood arm in arm with their fellow citizens, “speaking out” as best they could - through their art.
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