Additional writings by K.P. Singh may be found as Reflections of the Sacred in the Arts and Architecture

Original drawings of some of the images shown on this website are available for acquisition. Please contact KP for more information.

The Art of Youth Celebration

A presentation given by K.P. Singh at a fund raiser benefiting the Marion County Council on Youth, or MCCOY.

Indianapolis Art Center
September 28, 2007
Kanwal Prakash “KP” Singh

The great Indian poet, songwriter, singer and musician, actor, artist, philanthropist, humanitarian, and enlightened teacher, Rabindranath Tagore, reminds us that:

“Every child comes with a message that God is not yet despaired of man.”

I take it to mean that here on earth we too must welcome and cherish each life that God has sent to us and help it to grow, prosper, and reach its fullness and potential. The Sikh scriptures remind us that: “God is the Father and Mother of all Creation and we are all God’s Children” and “Every living being is a repository of Divine Light.” Serving others with all gifts entrusted to us by our Creator is a major commandment and honored tradition in the Sikh faith.

The Indian poet offers another universal vision, a deep yearning, and prayer to imagine a place where some basic human and sacred rights are not a dream but a solemn commitment:

“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free,
And the world is not broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls.”

Some scholars and admirers see this poem, originally in Bengali, as a universal anthem for all humanity; a fervent hope and prayer for all people, cultures, and nations. It is a lofty dream, but then dreams are supposed to be lofty. Such a place and spirit is well within the realm of possibility in this blessed land. We have to believe, work hard to see that everyone experiences the glow of such freedoms from fear, ignorance, or prejudice. We can say that the American renaissance and promise is gradually expanding and someday we would all be able to affirm:

The unexpected and unimagined is possible here.
Labor and creativity, without distinction, are rewarded;
Great dreams are invented and given amazing shapes everyday.

I offer a few thoughts about arts offering some needed light to our spirit and humanity:

Our arts, spirit, and humanity are inextricably intertwined, with each impacting the others in significant ways, drawing strength and inspiration from the others, and giving shape, distinct character and definition to the others. Arts are an adventure, a life-anchor for all generations.

Arts are the audio-visual, sensory, colorful, and creative expressions and reflections of our spirit and humanity. Our arts – song and music, dance and theater, literature and writings, architecture and fine arts, and other elements – culture, history, heritage, foods, festivals, traditions, and celebrations offer an intimate composite portrayal of the human journey.

Arts span many formidable distinct and diverse experiences that enrich and form our societal and cultural perspectives and perceptions, invite us to find common places within our universal hopes and collective visions. Arts reveal many unique and shared thresholds; inspire us to bridge and transcend the unfamiliar; dispel the unfounded and unjust stereotype. The arts help us see life through fresh prisms that reveal new intimate and uncommon connections amidst our diverse origins, history, heritage, cultural spectrums, and hoped-for destinations.

Arts are a window to the human soul. Arts provide a sense of human interests, imagination, dreams, discipline, stirrings, sensitivities, and sensibilities. Arts offer an intimate excursion into the human mind and emotions, our spiritual and cultural journey, and human evolution. The arts transport our spirit into realms that make our temporal experiences a natural extension of that which is beyond our sight and imagination, outside our familiar and imagine realms.

There are lessons for our spirit and humanity embedded and reflected in our arts. We create, advocate, and celebrate our world through the arts. We understand the importance of arts in teaching, learning, communicating and stimulating human imagination, and uplifting the human spirit through a myriad of beautiful and magnificent Raagmalas.

Through the arts, we record changing trends and transitions; introduce, transmit, and mold our ideas; create sensual pleasures and objects and icons of deep reverence; connect civilizations and bridge generations; embellish the human universe with fresh creative textures. Throughout human history, more than any other endeavor or pursuit, the arts have unleashed new energy, records and revelations, and great triumphs of imagination to revolutionize human spirit.

Besides being a tremendous source of human interest and enrichment, arts represent an economic power that generates millions of jobs and vast marketplaces for exchange. Arts also represent intense search for great innovations, creative excellence, investments, and global outreach.

As an integral part of everything we see, imagine, experience, or encounter, the arts transcend spatial, cultural, and spiritual boundaries; arts are a wonderful resource to motivate, excite, challenge, and transform us in profound ways, and bring us face to face with cultures, creativity vastly different from our own. Arts are a powerful, inspiring friendship force.

There is an artist within each one of us. We need to discover and nurture this inherent faculty, our own unique spirit-force. Arts have the power to bring out the best in us, make us look at life in new ways. That is when arts become a formidable force for change and help direct our energies from ordinary to extraordinary, mundane to memorable, from just a simple interest to developing a liberating passion that enlarges our understanding of life, leads us to its many splendors. Our Great Masters have ushered many a landmark renaissance that proudly embraced the spirit of a generation, or captured an entire civilization in its promise and radiance.

In a world heavily invested in maddening confrontations and often at odds with itself at every turn over culture, religion, ethnicity, poverty or prosperity, geography or history, and host of other reasons, the arts offer a pleasant alternative, unifying force, an affirmation, and a spiritual sanctuary. The supreme ability to create, interpret and illuminate, and integrate the arts into our societal fabric has proven to steady our daily pressures, change our world in constructive ways, and enhance the under-served promise of generations and nations.

The arts fascinate us. We know that life is art and arts imitate life. Arts are not the domain of a few; arts are for everyone. Arts are the remarkable creative markers and milestones of the human journey, experiences, and a testimony of man in search of his promise, his true destiny. Today, we see human soul mirrored in our arts and the arts stare back at us in disbelief when we do not honor the timeless lessons and profound wisdoms enshrined in our arts.

Arts have the power to emancipate us by awakening our collective moral accountability and responsibility to our time, place, spirit, and each other. We must preserve, invest, and celebrate our treasured arts not as an afterthought but as a major priority and solemn commitment to assure their rightful place and significance to our spirit, especially to our young creative minds.

We must encourage our youth, early and often, to look at their future with a greater sense of urgency and responsibility to themselves and to their communities. We must create programs that are innovative and imaginative and that help harness the strengths and build character of our youth. We must reward the “content of character and not the color of their skin,” ethnicity, cultural traditions, or country of origin. We must keep our eyes on the prize: to create a generation of model world-class citizens. As no other generation before them, our youth will be dealing with an increasingly complex, exceptionally aggressive, competitive world at many levels and in ways beyond their comfort zones. Diversity is our new frontier of opportunity.

MCCOY is committed to offering a vision for our youth: to explore creative outlets and productive alternatives that can guide them into safe havens and a bright future. MCCOY works with other major community and service organizations and sponsors to bring opportunities within the reach of youth. Too many of our kids are distracted or being swept away in the avalanche of easily available drugs, joining gangs, and embracing a culture of sex and violence that pose tremendous dangers to themselves and a major menace to society. MCCOY tries to steer our youth into programs that reinforce a greater sense of pride, develop their many assets and skills. We applaud the efforts of MCCOY and others and hope many others will join in recognizing our youth’s enormous untapped potential and helping our youth with programs, activities, facilities, and needed resources for expanded creative involvements.

As they say “great ideas are wonderful, but something must be done about them.” Each of us can assist in this noble endeavor. We are the “village” that must help our youth to succeed and achieve great things. Let us build upon the many initiatives already in place; seek additional resources and reinforce our sometimes shaken trust in future generations. Let us make sure that the new Asian or Hispanic youth is included in our endeavors to help all Hoosier youth, lest the new immigrant may be tempted to slide into similar trends as are out there destroying other youth. Let us teach our youth skills-for-living, how to succeed and excel in the tough global environment, become proud and responsible citizens, tomorrow’s new leaders. Let us not think of this in half-hearted terms. We must resolve to invest in their future in a timely and sustained manner. We have a generation to mentor to lead us forward to unimagined possibilities!

“Let your imagination stretch beyond the fathomable,
Your mind study the wisdom of Ages and cultures,
Your gifts and endeavors shape the moment and the Eternity.
Let your spirit witness the splendor and Majesty in the Divine,
Your heart listen to the universal songs of the Soul,
Your prayers and meditations honor the Sacred in each living being.”

-The Art and Spirit of K.P. Singh ~Selected Drawings and Writings

Kanwal Prakash “KP” Singh
Indianapolis, Indiana USA