NYU Black Renaissance Noire Fall 2013 - Page 78

76 If we consider Art to be an enlightened, though not necessarily the most elevated sense of reality, then we recognize its capacity to empower the soul. Art, irrespective of the culture that authenticates it, is not merely manufactured craft-work. Art is the testament of the human spirit and must be summoned in order to reveal its power to communicate beyond the naturalistic properties of a subject or the subjectivity of personal desire. The larger-than-life scale iconography crafted on the top of Mount Rushmore may be an imposing commemorative monument, but it does not own the spiritual potency of a miniature Congo Nkisi doll which reveals, what the Yoruba call, A’she. Robert Farris Thompson, the distinguished Africanist/Art Historian, has noted that, “Art looms large in Yoruba life and religion not only because of its implication in the existential process, but also because it generates beauty. The work of the artist in the creative process is to attract spiritual energy, thus a’she.” That which we refer to as art expression, then, is the luminosity of spirit. In Black Theatre practice, we bear witness to the fullest manifestation of this “flash of the spirit” when the performance achieves a poetic visceral and phonic manipulation of mundane experience that avoids being trapped in the fixity of time and space, so as to unleash the beauty revealed to us in its transformative power, and “makes-you-wanna-throw-up-bothyour-hands-and- holla” a’she! BRN-FALL-2013.indb 76 Again, we are advised by the J.C. De Graft that while drama “derives from everyday life...it is not the same thing as everyday life.” Rather, it is a “condensation from everyday life, whose many aspects—visible and invisible, tangible and intangible—it attempts to manifest, embody, or affirm.” As a performance medium, theatre has the capacity of drawing from mundane life a heigh