Jul 11, 2012

Multiculturalism, Art, and the Individal

It's time for Bead Soup Blog Hop Party 6, and that means exploring the world of jewelry making with a multicultural perspective and an appreciation for jewelry design globally. The Bead Soup Blog Hop Parties are an important part of the jewelry arts culture, and thanks to gracious host Lori Anderson, the creator of the popular Bead Soup Blog Hop Parties, they are connecting artists in wonderful new ways with modern technology.

Finland is a leader in internet technology and communication

The idea is to gather into pairs (each pair discussing the how, what, when & where of the beads to swap -- while still keeping it a surprise!), create jewelry with traded beads, and then to share photographs of one's jewelry with an international audience in a series of fun, fabulous jewelry reveals.

It's a jewelry party on a grand, diverse scale that connects us beautifully as artists, and perhaps even as teachers, while we stretch ourselves to create in new ways with new products and make new friends.

The last Bead Soup Blog Party was limited to 200 participants, yet it included 16 countries and 41 states (click for the map)!  Bead Soup Blog Hop Party 6 has 400 participants and 3 reveals. 

Finland cities built along rivers

 I am honored to have the privilege of swapping soups with Finland! As a teacher of multicultural studies, I'm delighted to not only bead outside the box, but think outside the box too. A wonderful way to have healthy communications and share with others is to first let go of our fears and our ethnocentrism. It sounds like a bad thing, but it isn't; rather ethnocentrism is simply something we all have and base our world view upon. 

It's the way we look at (or dismiss) culture, community or the individual. Because we are immersed in ethnocentric realities, we must make a conscious decision to consider a multicultural perspective. Sharing multi-culturally requires us to be aware of and considerate of our assumptions. And to release our fears about difference or the unknown. We must be willing to be imperfect.

 For example, in some cultures it is a norm to call one's parents by their first names, while in others it may be viewed as "liberal" or perhaps even rude. Another example might be differences in social norms regarding discussing money. It may be rude to ask how much money someone makes in one country, but no big deal in another. What we may or may not discuss depends on each culture and differs from society to society. 

 Pointing is another good example of multiculturalism. Pointing has many different meanings ascribed to it, even within the same country. Different social groups, or sub-cultures of society, define pointing at others as rude. Yet in American deaf culture, pointing is considered good and fine. In fact, pointing is a part of American Sign Language, a language with it's own syntax and meanings. ASL is not English put to gestures (that is called "signed English and is actually not considered its own language) but a language in its own right, and pointing is a way of defining subjects in sentences. 

Embracing multiculturalism means that the more we consider our world view, the more we become aware of differences. As we are thoughtful of differences, ethnocentrism has less ability to marginalize those communities, individuals, cultures that are different. 

Recognizing differences helps us to unlearn ethnocentrism, to hear and see without assumption or judgement, and ultimately to share  with diversity. Art is subjective. Our judgements of others are subjective. Yet, the awareness of our subjective self makes art appreciation -- and honor for and appreciation of others -- vast, diverse, and free. It makes our experiences inclusive, and ultimately empowering.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Gracias for your comments and for visiting! I appreciate every word :)
Namaste --