The Bulawayo Chronicle
I declined the line-by-line debate with H.G. Sendall on the function of art in society because it would take considerable space adequately to traverse all the issues involved, and I am far from certain that the argument would be of general interest to your readers.
I quoted the short piece by Maximus of Tyre for two reasons – first, because it constituted a plea for tolerance which I found so lacking in Mr. Sendall’s sanctimonious condemnation of current creative activity and, second, because it postulated the view that art, in directing the attention of mankind away from the mundane and towards the transcendental, heightened the general moral consciousness.
If the last assertion is correct, there is no foundation for Mr. Sendall’s suggestion that art and artists function as a subversive factor in society.
If artists do, through their work or their way of life, challenge established attitudes and habits, that is desirable and healthy. It is only by continued revaluation of our institutions and modes of thought that we can hope to progress.
Or does Mr. Sendall think that the world is OK as it is?
Finally, just for the record, I can draw, I do not claim to so especially well, because my interest is not to render images from the phenomenal world, but to create an iconography of the imagination, to find viable plastic metaphors for the inner world – the hopes, loves and experiences which constitute the ultimate realities for us all, and which are too fluid, profound and abstract to be susceptible to articulation through concrete images or terminology.