Storytelling in Art
From Representation to Expression
I have lived most of my life in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Zambia. The land of Africa, its politics and its people, have changed and enriched my life. I learned to take nothing for granted and to ask many questions.
At first, my art was representational and often about political subjects but, after working with artists at two international artists' workshops in Zambia, it changed radically.
What I learned from Zambian artists influences the way I work today. There is no one form of art nor one way to make art. Art does not have to be permanent or inside a frame or flat on a wall or in a museum or gallery. Art can be simply about colour, texture, form, line, surface and shape. Art can also use these elements for other purposes such as storytelling.
Sometimes art is beautiful, but not always.
Why does Ruth Hartley make art?
All humans are artists. We focus too much on those who are considered exceptional. The creative and artistic spirit in each of us keeps us alive.
I make art so that people will come and talk to me about it. Sharing and communication are very important to me. My art is also about ideas and feelings that can't only or always be expressed in words.
Art is the discovery of order and pattern in life. It doesn't have to last long, but it is in everything that humans do. We walked, danced and sang our way over millennia into language, literature, science, music and art. We find patterns of meaning and beauty in order to communicate with each other and commune with the gods.
Artists are makers and discoverers. For me, art is a necessity.