Tell us what art means to you, as part of an ongoing series where we ask the question to our team, artists, partners and audiences.
Catch up on previous answers on our social media channels #whatdoesartmeantome
"Art is care. Art is freedom. It is embedded in the cracks of everyday life and enables us to find joy in the mundane. It equips us with a language when words are insufficient. It allows us to dream; to imagine; to become. "
Wanja Kimani | Artist
"What does art mean to me? There are as many answers to this question as there are ways in which we individually experience art. My greatest joy is knowing that my personal, visceral reaction to a particular piece of art may be a reaction I share with someone else, who I don’t even know; Art is the experience that unites people, without needing a shared language."
Rhona Rowland | Fermynwoods Trustee
"Art is the means by which I make sense of the world."
Chris Lewis-Jones | Artist
"Art to me is about expression of that which is innate to each of us as individuals and to all of us as human beings. There is a very close connection between our innermost thoughts and the body in a moment of creative expression. That which we cannot find words for, or sometimes even know is there, comes out in the art we produce without us even trying. Art offers opportunities for deconstruction, reconstruction and reflection on all experience. Small children know this; playing, drawing, dancing and singing to make meaning of their world without any need for instruction. I am ever in awe of the ability art has to show, share and shift that which challenges us day to day navigating the complexities of being human."
Lisa Smallwood | Senior Lecturer in Education, Childhood, Youth and Families, University of Northampton
"Art to me is always a jump into the unknown. It is the inexplicable behind what moves me to create alternative narratives to the present. It is the obsessive attempt to collectively new scenarios, relationships and ways of being."
Chiara Dellerba | Artist
"Art is essential. It reveals humanity at it’s best; inventive, generous, insightful, creative, critical, playful, satirical, imaginative, empathetic…"
Barbara Dougan | Artist, curator and Fermynwoods Trustee
"Art is curious. Art is a tool. Art is a vast expanse. Art is a deep chasm of unearthed stories. Some true, some not. We must dig art up; we must reveal it to the world. Let it enchant the blurred lines of fact and fiction."
SUBTERRA: Marie Chantal Hamrock & Astrid Bjorklund | Guest Curators
"The arts are fundamentally a form of biodiversity - one modality among nature's creative expressions (though no more valuable or worthy of protection than those of other living beings). For me, the arts are also a route back to connectedness, a semaphore that says "there are more of us here"."
Maya Livio | Researcher, Writer, Media-Maker, and Curator
"I’m an art practitioner: for me, it’s like being an only child with a secret invisible friend. We watch people, events, and observe environments. We talk to each other, play games, go on adventures, exploring, inventing, making, editing, discovering and revealing. We’re watching you now."
Graham Keddie | Artist, curator and Fermynwoods Trustee
"Art for me is an emotional or physical response to the environment, it can sometimes be a form of protest at the relentless destruction of habitat and the natural world. I watch in despair at the loss of trees and land to the digger and the builder. I use art to bring together my thoughts and concerns. I collect plant material and found objects recycled fabrics to create collaged hangings. Within the hangings, I use printed text to raise my concerns. My art is a form of quiet protest."
Barbara Rawcliffe | Artist, volunteer and former Fermynwoods Trustee
"Art grounds ideas that were previously beyond our reach. It initiates us into new and unique relationships with the world in front of us. All it asks is that we participate by looking and listening that bit closer. On the rare occasions that it is shared equally, it gives power back to people on the margins."
Sam Francis Read | Artist
"Art is doing – observing, sensing, experiencing. Art is a mark, a sound, a gesture, a reflex as simple and complex as breathing. Art takes me both inside and outside of myself; both inside and outside of time and place. It is gossamer threads reaching from the matter of our atoms to some kind of unconscious connection maybe… But if I really knew what it was, I don’t think I’d need to make art."
Sapphire Goss | Artist
"Art is simultaneously personal and universal. An expression of emotions, events, experiences, observances of life from the artist's point of view, but can be translated in many different ways. There's never a wrong answer in art, just different paths and responses. Sometimes it's like marmite, you either love it or hate it while other times it's more subtle and needs more thought and reflection."
Emily Arnold | Artist
"Art has the power to transport people, to create an escapism from the day to day, offering time and space to reflect and enjoy. Art can provide the environment in which people can flourish to take a risk and be rewarded in a space without boundaries."
Richard Clinton | Cultural Leader, Fermynwoods Chair
"Art to me is something that is responding to worldly oscillation — articulating the in-between, the beneath, the husk, the smear. A practice of weaving storytelling and experience, pain and insight. In a way, its often to try and bring others along with your way of arranging what you choose to take care of."
Greg Orrom Swan | Artist & Designer
"For me, art – or perhaps more accurately, the process of art-making – is a way to navigate the world, a way to animate relationships between bodies of knowledge and to communicate complex ideas and emotions that sit beyond or before language. Art is my first love!"
Hanna Tuulikki | Artist
"Art is about changing the common perceptions of the world around us and foregrounding its wonder, mysteries and beauty. As an artist who works with his body, for me art is also about opening up, to be in the moment and really taking the time to see what is there. It can be a quick gesture, something much more evolved and for me, extends to things crafted by the other-than-humans."
Johannes Zits | Artist
"For me art is practice, and my practice is about listening. Listening to what I see, then responding."
Danny Treacy | Artist
"Art is part of my daily life. It is not always easy but it always gives me something to do and a connection to the world. I do not know what I would do without it, especially in difficult times it gives me a constant purpose."
Sally Sheinman | Artist
"Art comes close to the intensity of life, experiences of a lifetime compressed in the juncture of the worlds. It emerges in a feverish dream you can’t escape from, on the edge of known. While it can be gentle and soothing, it can also emerge as a deafening noise threatening bodies and minds. It is all-encompassing."
Maja Zećo | Artist
"Going back in time to prehistoric times there were certain things that were important: Surviving. Feeding yourself. And there was also art. Prehistoric artists were trying to figure out the world that they lived in.Take a painting of a bison on a cave with some spears in it - they were hoping they could control their food source and survival. Art was a really important element for all human beings and I believe that is still the case.Art allows you to give meaning to your life and to try and understand the world in some way. It is a way of engaging and understanding the world."
Aeneas Wilder | Artist
"I have always been panicked by the thought that there are things happening around us that nobody notices. As a child I loved a quote from the Bible, displayed on the wall of my Sunday school: “God sees the sparrow fall.”Art for me bears witness to the things we might fail to register, at least consciously. The beauty of vegetables growing in rows in a garden (Van Gogh’s drawings). The allure of domestic objects (Annette Messager’s sculptures). The pleasures of being in a body (Pipilotti Rist’s video installations).Art loosens expectations, it defamiliarizes, and it softens categories. This is especially meaningful when I’m trying to think about the big questions in life, via science or politics or psychoanalysis – because everywhere, in every sphere, we need flux and flex, as never before."
Angela Kingston | Curator