Portal:The arts

T H E   A R T S   P O R T A L

The arts are a very wide range of human practices of creative expression, storytelling and cultural participation. They encompass multiple diverse and plural modes of thinking, doing and being, in an extremely broad range of media. Both highly dynamic and a characteristically constant feature of human life, they have developed into innovative, stylized and sometimes intricate forms. This is often achieved through sustained and deliberate study, training and/or theorizing within a particular tradition, across generations and even between civilizations. The arts are a vehicle through which human beings cultivate distinct social, cultural and individual identities, while transmitting values, impressions, judgments, ideas, visions, spiritual meanings, patterns of life and experiences across time and space.

Prominent examples of the arts include architecture, visual arts (including ceramics, drawing, filmmaking, painting, photography, and sculpting), literary arts (including fiction, drama, poetry, and prose), performing arts (including dance, music, and theatre), textiles and fashion, folk art and handicraft, oral storytelling, conceptual and installation art, criticism, and culinary arts (including cooking, chocolate making and winemaking). They can employ skill and imagination to produce objects, performances, convey insights and experiences, and construct new environments and spaces.

The arts can refer to common, popular or everyday practices as well as more sophisticated and systematic, or institutionalized ones. They can be discrete and self-contained, or combine and interweave with other art forms, such as the combination of artwork with the written word in comics. They can also develop or contribute to some particular aspect of a more complex art form, as in cinematography.

By definition, the arts themselves are open to being continually re-defined. The practice of modern art, for example, is a testament to the shifting boundaries, improvisation and experimentation, reflexive nature, and self-criticism or questioning that art and its conditions of production, reception, and possibility can undergo.

As both a means of developing capacities of attention and sensitivity, and as ends in themselves, the arts can simultaneously be a form of response to the world, and a way that our responses, and what we deem worthwhile goals or pursuits, are transformed. From prehistoric cave paintings, to ancient and contemporary forms of ritual, to modern-day films, art has served to register, embody and preserve our ever shifting relationships to each other and to the world. (Full article...)

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The Great Coat of Arms of the Russian Empire, as presented to Emperor Paul I in October 1800. The use of the double-headed eagle in the coat of arms (seen in multiple locations here) goes back to the 15th century. With the fall of Constantinople and the end of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, the Grand Dukes of Muscovy came to see themselves as the successors of the Byzantine heritage, a notion reinforced by the marriage of Ivan III to Sophia Paleologue. Ivan adopted the golden Byzantine double-headed eagle in his seal, first documented in 1472, marking his direct claim to the Roman imperial heritage and his assertion as sovereign equal and rival to the Holy Roman Empire.

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Bronwyn Bancroft

Bronwyn Bancroft (born 1958) is an Indigenous Australian artist, notable for being the first Australian fashion designer invited to show her work in Paris. Born in Tenterfield, New South Wales and trained in Canberra and Sydney, Bancroft worked as a fashion designer and is an artist, illustrator, and arts administrator. In 1985 Bancroft established a shop called Designer Aboriginals, selling fabrics made by Indigenous artists, including herself. She was a founding member of Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative. Artwork by Bancroft is held by the National Gallery of Australia, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Art Gallery of Western Australia. She has provided artwork for over 20  children's books, including Stradbroke Dreamtime by writer and activist Oodgeroo Noonuccal and books by artist and writer Sally Morgan. She has also received design commissions, including one for the exterior of a sports centre in Sydney. With a long history of involvement in community activism and arts administration, Bancroft has served as a board member for the National Gallery of Australia. Her painting Prevention of AIDS (1992) was used in a campaign to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS in Australia. As of 2010, Bancroft sits on the boards of copyright collection agency Viscopy and Tranby Aboriginal College, as well as being on the Artists Board at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. (Full article...)

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  • A la Nanita Nana, a Spanish Christmas carol, performed by the U.S. Army Band Chorus in Spanish and English.
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