Art Healership Lessons

A lesson on letting go

Ai Wei Wei, Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn, 1995, triptych of black and white prints

It is time to break what we know. Everything that was held dear could be, at best a social construct, and at worst, unconsciously destroying our lives.

Ai Wei Wei eloquently shows us the power of destroying what we value, be it a 2000 year-old urn or a preconceived idea. He forces us to confront everything that is; he demands we ask, ‘why?’, imploring that we demand, ‘but what is it all for?’, and ending with a revolutionary, ‘what if we forgot all we knew to be important and created something new?’

As we look upon history dropping, falling, and shattering, a way of thinking and being, lies in pieces on the floor, we must ask ourselves what exactly we’ve been holding on to for so long and why we’ve been holding on so tightly. Past traditions are no less valuable, even when they have been dropped. But, perhaps they need to be broken so we can pick up the remains and use them create something better tomorrow.

We are led to forget that society is entirely man-made, from our traditions to our ornamental décor. Ai Wei Wei bluntly points out that our ways are not indestructible, they are fragile and can, and should frequently (especially when causing damage and destruction), be shattered. With this reminder, an answer crystallises for anxious questions:  how can we move on from the past? how can we improve? how can we move on from what we know?

Let go.

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