|Posted by Susan Shand on January 18, 2013 at 3:40 AM||comments (5)|
But is it Art?
The popularity of haiga in the west owes more to the invention of the camera phone than it does to Japanese or western Art heritage. The sparse Zen-inspired sumi-e and haiku combination has given way to the snap with an explanatory verse.
This IS art http://tinyurl.com/ak3yckh particularly this one by Jerry Dreesen
which you can see here http://pinterest.com/jerrydreesen/haiga/
This is NOT art.
It is a nice snap of a sunset over the water with a haiku which references the image directly. On a surface reading, a comparison between the sun and a candle flame, day and night. On a deeper reading, we could take the ambiguity of “dying day” to lead us to the conclusion that the writer is suggesting that the soul (candle flame) continues to shine on after death; Which, even being generous, is a rather self-satisfied and preachy closed statement in which we cannot engage but must either agree or disagree.
This type of combination rests heavily on the graphic design and purpose of religious tract/image posters.
Here an emotional nature image is combined with a tract to reassure, edify or encourage. There is a moral, religious, or emotional message which speaks AT us. It does not invite us in to engage with the content but only to receive and to bask in the glow. There are examples of this style which draw from other types of religious art.
In contrast, this one,
… combines a well composed photograph to support a haiku. Linking through the rust, it tells us about something which isn’t shown in the image but which we are invited to imagine. We fill in the story in which our own childhood memories become an active and engaged co-operative creativity with Christine L Villa’s stimulus.
The debate about whether to add the text to the image or to place it separately on a border is one which also reflects existing cultural norms. The western Art world for centuries has separated text and image absolutely; this haiga reflects that Art-based position which gives primacy to image and secondary importance to words in their size and placing. We are no longer restricted by such separations and there are many examples of modern art where text is included as part of the overall composition. Good haiga should achieve a balance between the two without sacrificing either, nor the overall composition. These are aesthetic decisions. Decisions of design, composition, colour, shape, artistic quality, appropriateness, effect, meaning. They are also decisions of combination and linking; the image and text must work together to create a whole which is greater than its parts. It is not enough to just take a picture of your pet and add a haiku about your pet. That is not Art.
Haiga, is an Artform which demands that we have skills and knowledge about both visual arts and word arts. That we are able to synthesise the two to create a combined whole which engages us both in our creative co-operation and in our visual senses.
There is an excellent article by Jim Kacian herehttp://www.gendaihaiku.com/kacian/haiga.html which talks eloquently and helpfully about art and linking in haiga. Enjoy!