Art as a Means for Exploring, Documenting and Learning from History
While oftentimes underappreciated, art is perhaps a multi-layered, complex application of human creative expression. In many ways, art is a universal language; a way of self-expression; a tool through which we learn about history, document our present and dare to envision our future.
Sometimes we don’t even have to travel far to discover art and, with it, history as captured in timeless artwork.
A couple of summers ago, on one of my visits to the NY Historical Society, I had the chance to see Norman Rockwell’s work, in particular Rockwell’s Four Freedoms, and ponder upon its message, as interpreted and understood through the years, and most importantly, nowadays.
The Four Freedoms:
Freedom of Speech
Freedom of Worship
Freedom from Want
Freedom from Fear<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">This January I finally made it to Roosevelt Island, home of the <a href="https://www.fdrfourfreedomspark.org/fdr-the-four-freedoms" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener" aria-label="Four Freedoms Park. (opens in a new tab)">Four Freedoms Park. </a>
the gondola trip over the river, in itself the cat sanctuary (although, I did not get to see too many cats) the smallpox hospitalruins FDR Memorial and the Four Freedoms Park
The experience of visiting Roosevelt Island brought me face to face with history, and in so many ways. Surrounding by so much history and by art capturing history, it is impossible not to feel humbled…and also inspired by FDR’s words.
As for photography: as you can see from these images, the day was cloudy, overcast; the sky painted in shades of gray rather than blue. And yet, the grayness of the day added to the overall, somber mood. Just like in a black-and-white photographs, the grayness (the lack of bright, vivid colors) of that day helped me focus on what was right in front of my eyes–all that history told through art, its meaning and message.
That said, I plan to visit again, and explore more of the island. For now, though, and as always, thanks for stopping by!