2/22/09

The Boys of Baraka


Tod rented an amazing netflix dvd, we watched it last night. DVD excerpt:

In an experimental program to reduce the rate of juvenile delinquency, the city of Baltimore sent a group of 12 year olds deemed "at risk" to a boarding school in Kenya, affording the boys the rare opportunity to turn their troubled lives around.....

I was so touched by this DVD, it becomes clear to me that the things that touch me the most usually have something to do with where I am at or have been in my life. No, I'm not a struggling black youth in a bad neighborhood, but after a few hours of talking with Tod there was a resonance with dreams being squashed. With something in your youth being killed. I seem to butt my head up against the wall of hopes and dreams and for as bizarre as it might seem to some, I was right there with those boys when I watched them. My heart went out to them and of course all I could think was how selfish it seems (to me) to make art when people need hope, help and just a friend or mentor; which led me to trying to understand more of why I am doing what I am doing now and how can I move onto my own level of health and functionality so I can be ready to make a real difference in other peoples' lives.* I'm not there yet, and I probably sound naive to some, but this is my experience and I'm just sharing.

As for the documentary, it's painfully obvious that those kids needed not to be stuffed into bad schools where they were just sliding by and not getting brought up to speed with their education. I don't want to ruin the movie for people if they watch it so I wont go on about what else happens. I feel very affected by the movie, anything that can stimulate the kind of conversation and awakening about your own life and others' is worth it's weight in gold. Inspiring and touching, it can't not lead you to at least some self examination, desire for growth and belief in empowerment for everyone.

*dont give me grief for saying that about art, this is me trying to understand still why art is important because I obviously don't yet get it. no matter how much i talk about it with people for whatever reason i have a block about my own value, about art's value etc. that is part of what got woken up by this movie, me asking me what do i do that makes any difference? art feels selfish and yet i feel like i have to make it. i'm trying to understand where i belong and how i matter, how art matters especially when i see docs. like this one.

8 comments:

Kim Hambric said...

Are you more likely to make a positive difference in this world by being an artist or a Wal-Mart stocking clerk?

self taught artist said...

well until i can experience the importance of art i will never know. we can tell someone something but it has to be felt and integrated before it 'takes'. that is obviously my block, not knowing how art is important. how I am, if at all.

self taught artist said...

know what, i would feel more useful working at walmart, even though i would HATE IT.

Karen said...

creating beauty is very worthwhile. functional beauty as well. Making your life have meaning can be done in many ways. some tiny some huge. Only you know where you fit. what you may percieve as small gestures in your life may translate into much larger ones impacting on someone elses life. The bottom line is that you MUST be true to yourself and your calling in this life.

self taught artist said...

well karen, i still have a blind spot about creating beauty, especially if its usually in the basement with bubble wrap over it.
is that useful?
i'm trying to be true to myself but obviously am having problems understanding what that would look like or be like.

sarala said...

Another entry for my Netflix list. If you need a good laugh try Waiting for God. A British comedy series about getting old. Not sure if you can get it at the local video store. So funny though.
Well, being in the helping people line, I lust after being an artist. I guess the grass is greener, huh?

deb said...

paula, i think art feels selfish to many of us, especially when it impacts the lives of those we love... and i fell unbelievably conflicted about the physical costs of art making in terms of using the planets resources, at east you can feel good there, you are recycling and reclaiming things back to beauty. i think this too shall pass.

StellaD said...

I agree with you in part, wondering if what I'm doing really means anything or how it can help this troubled world. If we are given this talent, we must use it, or it will eat us up inside. So we feel driven to make art, to create. As to knowing why or for what value...? I think it goes beyond beauty (some art is purposely grotesque)and pulls something up from deeper inside. Keep doing what you are doing and the 2-minute warning just popped up! Later, my friend!