• Mitch Riley

“Look! Listen!”

Our arts industry, our political system, our economic modeling - they are parts of a culture, a negative culture, which has cut out its soul, torn itself to pieces and put its remains on display in glass jars. Everything is divided, separated, understood and placed in the right category. There is no place for mystery or dreams when everything must be rationalised, have an economic purpose, or be financially viable.

This culture has made us afraid, but our fear makes us cling ever more desperately to it, to this way of being, even as it sucks us dry of our humanity, leaving us as grey, empty, shadows. The more it dominates us, the more urgent the necessity to create.

Creation is revolution - it questions the present by posing an alternative. Something freer. Creation dares to throw off the shackles of a system which survives by destroying our ability to imagine another future.

The creative act says, “I am Life!”. It affirms. It says, “I am not a number, not a tool, but an individual being who feels and dreams”.

Creation is a call to others - “Look! Listen! I am here. Do you understand?” Creation is connection.

Each drawing, each melody, each painting and poem is a rejection of this negative culture which corrupts our future and replaces it with nostalgia for a nonexistent, unattainable past.

It is so easy to get tied up in the expectations of the arts industry, our own expectations as artists, our own desire to be recognised, to be successful, but in doing so we forget the essential. We forget to play and dream, we forget to share and open ourselves to another. We put up walls, and so our art, even if accomplished, is false. It is an equation, merely representative of something we know to exist but are unable to feel.

It is so hard to let go. It is easy to forget. Sometimes I lose the courage to dream, but I know I am not alone. So I write this for you, and for me. Courage! Hold firm! Put pen to paper. Sing. Dance. Be joyous. Imagine. Create.

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