The ten commandments of Art
by John Devaraj, Bangalore
e-mail: johndevaraj@hotmail.com

August 16, 2004
When society was on the death throes of moral degradation Moses came down from the mountain with the ten commandments, sculpted on stone a path to life that still holds much truth. Here in the 21st century in the covenant of the Artist we lay the purpose and philosophy of art.

Here are the TEN COMMANDMENTS OF ART that I inscribed!

I. Art is Humanity
Art has to be in the service of humans and nature. By its expressions it humanizes the world.

II. Art Unites
It emphasizes togetherness and negates individualism. It destroys all walls and artificial materialistic barriers. It raises the collective consciousness and knits the human fabric.

III. Art is heart
Art is the heartthrob of the human soul, pulsating and keeping alive the cultural continuity of civilizations.

IV Art is Beauty
Art is beauty, as “Man creates in accordance with the laws of beauty”. The state of beauty has to be established by creating conditions, which will nourish its flourishing. It will espouse holistic human values of love, sharing, caring, peaceful coexistence and to respect nature.

V. Art is joy
Art celebrates life. It does not discriminate humanity on the state of its being, color, beliefs and place of occurrence. It beholds the goodness of the humans and promotes bondage.

VI. Art is power
Art is the embodiment of the creative power of the artist reflecting social life and therefore it empowers and emboldens those who behold it.

VII. Art is united
Art is the repository of the emotive folk spirit of civilization.

VIII. Art is Childhood
Art is the epitome of childhood. It is high fantasy, unadulterated futuristic. It is born from the womb of the child's imagination seeking out the pure and innocence of life. It is playful by nature. It heralds the freedom of children from toil. Art is a child liberator.

IX. Art is revolutionary
Art questions hitherto all accepted truths with such fundamental notions. It critically questions the contradictions in society; it nurtures enthusiasm and motivates change. Hence art will negate all that is ugly to humanity, poverty, hunger, exploitation of man-by-man, war, violence, greed, hatred and jealousy, physical and mental slavery.

X. Art is prophetic
Art is prophetic and the artist the prophet. It brings into this world all that is new and noble.


John Devaraj is a sculptor and artistic director of Janotsava, a Bangalore based NGO that involves underprivileged children in cultural activities and stages plays on children's issues. Janothsava takes its troupe to other countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America where children continue to be employed as labourers.