|Art and Architecture: Do They Reflect Any Desires of the Human Race?
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| Human beings are able to take flights into spheres of fantasies and it is during these short instances that they have the guts to let their imaginations soar. There is a very thin line that distinguishes the absolute from the actual. It is where the human chooses to be that which makes all the difference. There are those who wish to be on the “safe” side and blend into the ordinary and then there are those who cross the border throwing caution to the wind. These people who chose to sway from the safer side do so not by a step or two but tend to take a plunge. It is this mindset that craves and cajoles the human to attempt and attain the impossible. Taunting and teasing the individual until they surrender. Thus, humans do things that make them feel 'unbwoggable' (unbeatable), that quench their thirst for supremacy. In what ways are they able to satisfy their urges?
Art. Art in all its forms is just an expression of all that is intrinsic to humans. Dance, music, painting or architecture- the list is endless but the spirit is essentially the same- it is an attempt to be exceptional. What holds better proof to this fact than the breathtaking creations of architecture that we see all around us today?
Every history and general knowledge text is deficient without a word or two about the splendid 'Eight Wonders of the World'. In India for instance, there is a plethora of structures that provide information on the sovereign under whose rule the structures were put up. Kings contended with each other to make their reign the 'superior era of architecture'. With time, the structures they built became more complex and each had a story behind it. The structures we see today reveal the culture and aspirations of the people responsible for their construction. In certain situations where these structures have been torn down and destroyed as a result of invasions it is fascinating how much charm and mystery they continue to deploy.
One wonder, the Taj Mahal, stands today as the vital symbol of the love that Shah Jahan had for his wife Mumtaz Mahal. The stones of white marble, specially crafted with complex designs, mixed together with rich gemstones continue to be admired by tourists. The Taj Mahal continues to haunt with its beauty and love. The shrines that span India instill faith and generate the sense of supremacy within the ambiances they create. These structures were eroded with respect for gods and religious aspects of civilizations and this comes to the fore.
In Egypt, the pyramids standing splendidly amidst the desert attract many tourists yet are nothing but simple tombs. During the era when these pyramids were constructed the Egyptian civilization believed in life after death. For the Kings who passed on it was felt that their afterlife should be no different. Therefore they went into the pyramids with all their desired wealth, food, ministers and servants and the enchanted rituals that they believed brought the dead back to life. An interesting case is that of Queen Hatchipsood who, after overthrowing her stepson, ascended the throne. To appease the Gods she decided to build the highest obelisk (a monolith, in simpler terms) and cover it in silver and gold. This was in fact constructed and stands to date but with a transformation from the original state. The son, who ascended to power after killing her put up a high wall around it to prevent the sun from reaching it. His reason for doing this was to displease the sun god 'Ra' and thereby reducing the chance of his stepmother having an afterlife. This is an example of how the beliefs of the time drive people to build what they do.
Today, structures reach greater heights and incorporate innovative techniques in their construction. They mirror the frame of mind of the modern human being. In the present world, all is but a rat race- against time, against the past and against other beings. People want to be the best in all they do and aim high. The Great Wall of China, Taipei 101, The Empire State building, The Underwater Tunnel ways, The Space stations; be it land, sea, water or now space, human beings build structures reflecting their hopes and desires. Desire that one day they will have space in pages of the history books. Hoping that posterity will take from them a rich legacy, as they once did from their ancestors and a hope that they shall remain. To stay on forever, to try and beat the odds against time, to be eternal and to be what they have always wanted to be! It is in their dreams that they see not what it is but what can be. They dream and what they build around themselves today is just a fragment of the step that they have taken in their existence, in the realization of their dream. And still, they dream on.
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As a very creative Architecture student at the University of Nairobi, i have had lots of interests in many forms of arts. These include performing arts, writing and drawing.
I have written many articles on issues ranging from humour, politics, religion and even the most controversial topics like human rights and abortion.
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