Use Art to heal the world Favorite 



Aug 29 2021



I must first come clean, I studied fine arts in high school from years nine to 12. Since my studies were concluded, I had never held a paintbrush again.

Although the teachers were largely inspiring and wonderfully bohemian as one could expect, there was something inherently dull and debilitating in the framing of our artistic expression as an academic chore on which we were tested and marked. In the (many) years that had passed, I replaced the paintbrush with the pen, the blank canvas with the page, opting to create my art with words and language.

As a vegan author and writer, I use my literary art as an extension of my animal rights activism; as a form of outreach. Words are powerful and can help our movement progress and promote the social change we are striving to achieve. But I was interested to find out: what about vegan artists who do express their creativity with paint, chalk, clay, stone, glass, print and other formats of fine art? Can the “production of aesthetic objects” serve our social movement? Can it broadcast the animals’ plea? Can it outreach our message?

The answer, of course, is an enthusiastic “yes”. There is quite a number of outstanding vegan artists who use their art for doing just that. I would like to introduce you to a small number of them.

Afellow New Zealander, Lynda Bell’s beautiful, intricate, colourful and dream-like creations are very frequently seen on social media. Her works are, in fact, so popular, they have been notoriously stolen and on-sold illegally.

Odds are, if you spend a couple of hours on Facebook, you are bound to scroll past The Guardian, one of Bell’s most famous creations, used as someone’s profile background or in a post, without even crediting her. It was shared so many times, people no longer know who the artist is.

Bell grew up around animals, which made her question whether humans should be eating meat. It didn’t resonate with her as a child, but like most of us, she was taught that it was natural and essential. Later, when she learned it was not, she became a vegetarian.

It took her a bit longer to realise, via exposure on social media, that there was cruelty in all animal products, dairy and eggs included. For a short while, she toyed with the idea of going vegan, until one day she took that decision. She chose veganism.

She thinks of her paintings as rainbows of optimism and abundant goodness. Her style is bold and intricate, with shape, pattern and possibilities in every part of the canvas. Her intention is for the viewers to feel joyful and invigorated when they look at her work and begin to form their own narrative within the myriad of stories in each painting.

Her inspiration is taken from the patterns and colours of the psychedelic 60s and 70s, as well as the wondrous forms in nature. She makes her own versions, culminating them into a wonderland of sorts, where animals live in harmonious fun with each other and humankind. Each painting has a lot going on — she tries to paint as many animals as she can onto a canvas and fill each background with symbolism, pattern and movement.

Bell is also hugely influenced by storytelling and the archetypal figures within classic tales and mythological themes. She thinks of each painting as a journey into a world filled with possibilities, in which both artist and viewer can delve into and reawaken the enchantment and belief in magic that never truly left us as we grew into adulthood.

To Bell, veganism is love in abundance. It is caring about others. It is sharing compassion and helping those in need. For many, there is no need to awaken these qualities — they are already there. For others, they might need a little more inspiration.

Art is a universal language and speaks to each of us as an individual. For those on the path of veganism, Bell’s art may serve as an encouragement to keep going. For yet others, it may help remind of their connection to animals and inspire them to make changes towards creating a better world.

Painting the world as it could be, where everyone is kind, compassionate and cares about animals, shows people that this is not only a wonderful thing, but it is truly possible. This is what we are all fighting for, after all — a kind and beautiful world, filled with happiness for all who live here.

Posted by Momo1112 on

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