The Definition of Art and Craft
What is art?
Art is something that can attract a person to observe or view due to it beauty and its presentable look. The art also must be a work that can communicate and useful between a viewer and the artist. But of all the beauty in the world, the works of beauty by the Mighty Allah is the infirmity and with His approval the human can create a beautiful art. As said by Hashim Musa (1996) about the concept of arts:
'Art, for human is the occasion for expression, talking, verbalization and speech, and for the representation of beauty, truth and perfection. However, the real height of beauty truth and perfection is Allah and all His creation." 1
To express the need in art, an artist should know how to communicate with the viewer, spectator or observer through his art as the medium. The communications that created by the artist have made the art useful and some times meaningful for human. Craft is Art, art done by the artist that so beautiful and useful to the need of its observer. Craft, did have all the concept mention as an artwork. In the word from Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia (2003) were one of it definitions about arts is:
“Art is a craft, but not just any sort of craft. It is a craft of expression - of someone's feelings or thoughts, and it can take many forms depending on a chosen medium." 2
Here we can see haw the medium gain an importance role in presenting arts, the arts either can just be observe as the collection of its admirers or as a work that can be useful and serve its obvious practical needs to others and it also have an aesthetic value, as mention in the Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia (2003) as the following:
“Good art can work on many levels and is capable of many interpretations." 3
Generally speaking, there are no separations between work of art and craft; it is true because in craft the beauty and the purpose for human interest are already generated.
Role of Art
Art have so many role, back in the past arts was more to the practice of human activity and as documentations. The purpose is to past information to the present generation about their experience and activity. This practice can be seen in all the cave painting existed now, for example the cave painting arts found in The Cave of Lascaux, (Paleolithic Age). 4 We also can relate this type of work to the statement by Leo Tolstoy (1828 – 1910):
“Art is a human activity, consisting in this, that one man consciously, by means of certain external signs, hands on the other feelings he has lived through, and that other people are infected by these feelings and also experience them." 5
The role has developed, to the art were it is more to be practice to the performing a religion or community believe icon. It also did not stop there; the art role has been evolve to something that over and above necessity were the art is only can be observe by some people who can afford it. By than the western ideologies have separate the work of art that benefits the usurer as the craft and the work of art that can only be observe by certain people is an artwork as a masterpiece.
Role of Artist
An artist in the ancient world brought up their duty as documentations of the world they live in, as we can see in the cave painting at the Niah Cave in Serawak (Peleolithic Age).6 In the Age of Animism the artist as the presenter of artistic work or to create an object of his population believe during that time and after the religion era such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Islamic came the artist presented their work according to the religion and their ideology. This we can see in a statement by Henry Fuseli (1741-1825)
“Ancient art was the tyrant of Egypt, the mistress of Greece and the servant of Rome." 7
In his statement above it is clear that during those years the artist role in present their works by following his believe and needs of their masters. An artist is also having generated the base of form germinates and develops its possibilities as in Michael Tawa (1992) writing was clearly stated:
“An artist who traditionally mediates between form and matter by becoming the vehicle, agent and instrument of formal realization." 8
Here he stated the role of artist is stated when they created the process in all aspect of harmony and temperance – on a proportionate co-ordination and co-operation between the form, the artist and the materials. As we understand that the role of artist is not just for his art for arts sake but also involves the whole idea of community in their area or believes.
Meaning of Originality, Tradition, Beauty
The coming of Islam in the Malay world has brought the need to go back to the beginning base in arts; the functions of art have been taken in a serious concern in creating an art. The art doesn’t mean for certain individual but it also must be function for all and can be useful for others in their daily life. The art that generate from tradition is the type of art that been past through generation to generation such as the work of art from the wood caving, waving and others. It also the type of art that been past due to the religion needs such as the work of art for the god image in Hinduism and Buddhism. In Islamic art the work of calligraphy and the architect design of the mosque is one of the works that have its own beauty. As mention by Nasr, S. A. (1981) as following:
“In facts, the word tradition is related etymologically to transmission and contains within the scope of its meaning the idea of the transmission of knowledge, practice techniques laws, forms and many other elopements of both an oral and written nature”. 9
In all type of artwork done by the artist the beauty cannot be separated. “Beauty is a gift of God." 10 By Aristotle (384 b.c – 322b.c), In the world that full with beauty, we should never forget that Allah has created it for us and the creativity that He have given to us, is a bless. According to Fernand Leger (1881-1955)
“Beauty is everywhere, in the arrangement of your pots and pans, on the white wall of your kitchen, perhaps more then in your eighteenth-century salon or in the official museum." 11
To him all creation by man that base on their creativity is arts and it doesn’t mean the art must be presented in a salon, gallery or museum art is every ware; if just we knew how to appreciate it art is everyway in the creation of household or in our surrounding.
Nature of Art
Art in the form of work in the beginning is a source of documentation and it also function as an information for the people believe and religion. The artist use this opportunity to tell us a story of the people in the previous era, to deliver a political message during that time or just to make others think, it grabs the attention of others and makes others to experience what have the arts expresses. Through it we have the knowledge about the past, religion and events; it is function as documentation for us to live in a better way in the future. An art in the form of object is something can be use with an artistic value. The work of art that so practical for human use in his daily life are so importance and it been transfer form generation to generation. Art is for all and the entire world can benefit it.
1. Hashim Musa (1996). Seni dan Kosmologi. Balai Seni Lukis Negara. Kuala Lumpur. Pg 18
2.Wikipedia (23 March 2003), Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia, http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Definition_of_art
3.Wikipedia (23 March 2003), Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia, http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Definition_of_art
4.Margaret Wilson Fuller. (2003), The Cave of Lascaux, Norbert Aujoulat © National Centre of Prehistory, 5.http://web.culture.fr/culture/arcnat/lascaux/en/index.html
6.Hadden, Peggy (2002), The Quotable Artist, Allworth Press, New York. Pg 7
7.Abdul Rahman Al- Ahmadi (0000), Arts & The Islamic World, note from class, 9 July 2003. Pg40
8.Hadden, Peggy (2002), The Quotable Artist, Allworth Press, New York. Pg 5
9.Tawa, Michael (1992), Craft in Society An Anthology of Perspectives. WA: Fremantle Center Press. Pg 271
10.Nasr, S. H. (1981), Knowledge and the Sacred, New York. Pg67
11.Hadden, Peggy (2002), The Quotable Artist, Allworth Press, New York. Pg 190
12.Hadden, Peggy (2002), The Quotable Artist, Allworth Press, New York. Pg 193