29 Oct 2016

12 reasons why migrants make good artists.

  I have come across interesting books, talks, artists, singers, generally great creative people who are migrants. A quick search reveals some of the famous migrant artists or creative people.
  In 20 famous migrants to the UK, migrant artists/creatives include Handel, Karl Marx, Sigmund Fred, Marks and Spencer originators. In the United States of America famous migrant artists include Einstein, Bruce Willis, Joni Mitchell, Isabell Allende, Charlize Theron.

Jacob Lawrence Migration Series
  The list of migrant artists is endless. Have a search for migrant artists in the country you live in.
  The twelve reasons migrants make good artists could be expanded. Should you have some more to add then type away in the comments below.
  Migrant art offers a fresh perspective. The combination of the artist's countries produces art that keeps us stimulated. The differences are what makes the art attractive or interesting.

"A lot of flowers make a bouquet." Muslim origin

 12 reasons migrants make good artists.

  1. Migrants are familiar with being an outsider, criticised and or judged
  2. Migrants are different in accent, appearance or actions. Because of these differences, migrants are continually developing their feeling of being integrated.
  3. Migrants are motivated people. 
  4. They are familiar with change, and open to non-conformity.
  5. Your formative years' environment and support network influences how you live as an adult. You have preconceived ideas about what is normality. By changing countries you can literally shed any preconceived ideas and reinvent yourself. A migrant can consider themselves to be like a blank canvas.
  6. Migrants are able to be objective about what they see around them. A traveler appreciates characteristics of the country they were brought up in when they are away from it. The distance helps the traveler create objective opinions. Similarly the migrant artist's objectivity helps create art. This art introduces a new perspective to the migrant's host country. 
  7. The migrant artist has the perspective of two countries to create art.
  8. Migrants have a start with no reputation to lose or spoil.
  9. Migrants are practiced at being observers. They have lingered in the background as they have discerned what is offensive and what is not. Comedian and show host Graham Norton has said that being brought up as a Protestant in a Catholic country made him feel an outsider. In an article by Telegraph Group Ltd he said being an outsider gave him the skills to be a successful show host. He is happy to observe, ask the questions rather than feel he has to be one of the group answering the questions. A comedian will use their observations to gain the most laughs. An artist can use their observations to help create their art.
  10. Migrants have had their sense of belonging disturbed, disconnected and reconnected. This uprooting is emotive. Creative expression can help the artist work through the transition of identifying which connections they want to keep and which the migrant is happy to let go. 
  11. A desire to share the trauma of disconnection can be strong enough not only to create, but to communicate. Telling people about your struggles as a migrant is not always well received. But showing them a piece of art, prose, play, song or joke communicates the message in a less confrontational way. The art is an opinion the artist has made public. It's not so much, 'Let's have a dialogue about this' rather, 'This is a piece of art. Dwell on it and if you feel moved, tell me what it made you think.'
  12. Author Edwidge Danticat's blog, "All immigrants are artists" suggested, before a migrant thinks about creating a piece of art, they already have lived art creation.
    "Trying to start a life in a strange land is an artistic feat of the highest order, one that ranks with (or perhaps above) our greatest cultural achievements."

Human Migration

If you would like to browse through some migrant works, I have found these:

Immigrant plays
Immigrant songs
Immigrant books
Japanese New York: Migrant Artists and Self-reinvention on the World Stage
The Emotional Challenges of Immigration
Immigrant actors

Post a Comment