An initiative of the Menil Collection with cultural, educational, and social justice organizations in the Greater Houston area.
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The Living Art of Nonviolence

Oct 4
2014
9:27 am
By Menil

In their Thursday night conversation about Experiments with Truth: Gandhi and Images of Nonviolence, exhibition curator Josef Helfenstein asked artist Amar Kanwar if there is an aesthetics of nonviolence.

In response, Kanwar mused that rather than an aesthetics visible in particular features of artworks, an aesthetics of nonviolence would be rooted in a way of being, that the characteristics of truth and nonviolence that Gandhi spoke of–and made central to his philosophy–would come through the way one lives. Which infuses what one does.

This calls to mind a quote from the sage Patanjali gathered while we were researching the project (Yoga Sutra 2.35):
When one perseveres in nonviolence,
hostility vanishes in its presence.

Perhaps this describes an aspect of the living art of nonviolence, of the art of living nonviolence, and therefore of the art of nonviolence; I wonder if that is what Kanwar was talking about.

One of the questions asked by the exhibition is:  What does nonviolence look like?
The Kanwar-Helfenstein discussion posed further questions: What does living peace, living nonviolence look like?
And: What art would come out of that life?