The Artist as Trickster: Pertinent-Impertinent Thinking in Western Sydney
- UTS ePRESS
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- Locating Suburbia: memory, place, creativity, 2013, 1, pp. 244 - 258
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Pablo Picasso famously said that `art is a lie that tells the truth. Lewis Hyde, writing in Trickster makes this world: How disruptive imagination creates culture, quotes this aphorism in support of his contention that some artists are able to embody the spirit of the trickster myth that exists in many of the worlds cultures: the Monkey King who travelled from China to India with the good pilgrim Tripitaka; the North American Indian myths of Coyote; Hermes; Mercury; Prometheus; Krishna; African myths of Eshu and Anansi, the Ashanti spider trickster. Paradoxically, these myths assert `that the origins, liveliness, and durability of cultures require that there be space for figures whose function is to uncover and disrupt the very things that cultures are based on.3 Indeed, for Hyde, artists have a touch of the prophet about them, with the power to help others see into the hidden heart of things, to collaborate in imagining possible futures that have the potential to become collective aspirations.
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