Are the Arts not a proper subject now?

Each time I tell another Nepalese parent that I’m studying Media Arts, a fairy dies. The expression of disdain, followed by an immediate loss of interest is an all too familiar response to anything that doesn’t concern the Sciences, Engineering, IT, Law, Mathematics and every other job out there which will probably land you a handsome six figure salary.

They also ‘casually’ care to point to out that their children study in some far away university and are of course, reading medicine. This is usually followed by an unofficial invitation to their children’s graduation (which is not until at least two years later) and a reassuring pat on my shoulder, telling me that I am very, very brave. I don’t think people realise I’m faking my encouraging smile either because they continue to gloat at my face and at one point, go as far as to question if I didn’t have the capability to study anything else. If I could show you a glimpse to the sheer volume of rage amplifying in my body every time someone questions my apparent stupidity and lack of capacity of being able to do anything else, I really would.

It’s exactly like the time when your phone rings when around a family gathering (this is more effective if it’s at late night) and they immediately question who it is, underlying the fact that they think you have a boyfriend. The eye brows in the room go exceptionally high when you try to convince them it’s your best friend who is drunk dialling and it really isn’t a good idea to put them on speaker as proof. This doesn’t work, causing you to put your phone on speaker and they hear enough cursing to last them a long while. A game of Scramble with friends over your phone turns into a heated argument because it is suspected that you are texting a guy. The point here is, STOP ASSUMING EVERYTHING PEOPLE!

I’d like this to reach to as many of you out there who happen to be squeamish at the sight of blood, bored at the slightest hint of science and unable to comprehend math. We are NOT useless simply because we don’t follow the regular academic course of subjects that everyone around us are doing. The right side of our brains are simply more dominant, causing us to appreciate things as a whole before the details , be intuitive by being led by our feelings rather than logic and simply put, we’re artists. We die a slow death when put in a classroom, forced to study something that doesn’t work for us. I know too many friends who’ve dropped out of college and other higher learning courses as they think they’re a failure just because they couldn’t pass the subjects which would help them become doctors. In fact, so many of us are discouraged to take hobbies like photography seriously because it’s a ‘waste of time’ and won’t ‘land a good job’. Sure your parents are looking out for you, but do not ever waste a single ounce of energy thinking for whatever matter that you are stupid. You’re talented as you are, just differently to others.

I’ve TRIED making Media Arts sound as humanely exciting as possible. Past examples include ‘I study cinema’, ‘I study directing and producing’ and even ‘I study films’, which always gets the same response. But when you really come down to it, it really doesn’t matter what they all think, because I work my ass off as much as every student out there. I have just as many finals, dissertations and enough essays to drive me insane to be busy with to care about what anybody has to say. The point is, I love what I do and it really is up to you guys to respect me as I am. I’m not going to make myself feel inferior to anyone because I’m different and don’t save lives in a daily basis. But get this, the small minority of us who study the arts, be it fashion photography or fine arts, are as talented as they come and I personally can’t wait for us to come out with our talents in the future.

Past events such as Parcha Production’s art exhibition showed off beautiful art works by upcoming Nepalese talents and if you haven’t seen it already, I’m sure there will be another event soon. The art scene is bustling with famous photography bloggers such as Gyan Gurung and Karuna Gurung. Absolutely stunning art pieces by artists such as Nawal Rai and Subash Thebe were also on display. The Kollywood industry is growing as we speak and Nepalese films are actually worth seeing these days.

The art movement is going too strong to be denied as a ‘proper’ subject my friends and may you never have to face the prejudice I get for simply doing what I love. Follow me on twitter @simantgurung for regular updates of my non existent life and I’ll leave you with a beautiful piece Gyan did for the Movember project. Enjoy your Easter J 

Written by Simant Gurung

Loved this piece of writing by Simant Gurung! Simant also has a weekly column on Everest Times (UK).

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Photo: Gyan Gurung

Lex Limbu
Lex Limbu is a non-resident Nepali blogger based in the UK. YouTube videos is where he started initially followed by blogging. Join him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

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  1. I study Computer Science and I for once so badly wish I had the artistic brilliance of the print designer or any web designer but my mind simply can’t understand all the artistic complexities of how to make a good design/art happen. It is beyond me. And I have always thought of ppl with artistic abilities to be brilliant because I appreciate creativity.

    My uni is in a place with very minimum Nepalese ppl so I don’t have to worry about all these bull shits. Whole lot of diff ppl with diff attitude and open mind when u are in uni, far away frm CCTV society.

    Really nice article I have to say. My blood boils every time I am in family gathering with all these typical ?’s .

  2. i seriously believe that they [ our society] need a good electroconvulsive therapy at a highest voltage of electric current so that the concept, that only ” MBBS”[ yes,a freagin’ ‘M’ ‘B’ ‘B’ ‘S’] is worth respecting ,will be deleted from their brains.

  3. i am an architectural engineering student and it feels great to be a part of the artistic and technical world in all..

  4. another rant on how “artists” are different from others when the mass you are trying to appeal is not even related to your field.

  5. Bitch please. If you get shunned for having a media study then sadly you deserve it. Most of people doing science may/do not enjoy all the subjects. some of the maths I do are plain nasty but I shoulder on, I love arts and music hence they are my hobbies. Also science needs more creativity than media study (sorry I don’t think it’s arts) science is a SUPERIOR FORM OF ART. Clicking shutter button with proper appertur, shutter speed is not on par with actually creating the sensors, optics e.t.c. I hate fashion designing students with vengence I really do feel sorry for their parents. Artistic abilities are innate and I have utmost respect for them but spending years to become unemployed, mcd manager, cameramen(not all become speilberg ) by doing what you love doing NOW. I love to procrastinate too but I don’t do it for 3 years and get a degree for it!!!!! . Please you are not fooling anyone when you say your media study (pseudo study) is just as much of a degree. Some people just understand…… I guess if they did they wouldn’t be doing Media study.

  6. I cringed when I saw that some pseudo-elitist grammar nazi couldn’t even spell grammar. #spelling

  7. Nice article Simant.

    Whilst I do have the utmost respect for those studying medicine, science and technical subjects, I don’t believe that valuing someone’s worth and intelligence on what degree they do is a good habit to have. That’s imposing your value system on someone else, that’s like comparing a meat dish with a vegetarian dish — they’re two completely different things.

    It *is* important to keep yourself educated but it is also important to study what interests you. If someone lives, breathes and their innate passion is art, then they have every right to follow that dream. Again, if someone is really talented at sciences and doesn’t mind working their butt off within the sciences, then go ahead and follow that career.

    Anonymous 9 April 2012 19:24 is a classic example of someone who doesn’t understand this concept. He/she places his/her value system of what an education should be on to someone else who has completely different set of values to what they want to get out of life.

    Also, it’s interesting how Anon has also called science a “superior form of art” as if art can only be defined in one category. If you’re talking about the creation of things to help human beings medically/scientifically, then yes, science can be considered superior… but what is science without that initially creativity that springs from art? However, there are some things that art can do that science cannot… and that’s exploring the human condition, both expressively, analytically and theoretically through photography, painting, film, fashion, mixed media and so on. You might prefer studying cells in a lab than writing papers on that, but the latter is what these art students prefer.

    We should all be able to follow our respective paths. No matter what degree we do, we’re all educating ourselves to a higher level. There is nothing wrong with people who don’t go to university either. I wonder how many of our grandparents or great grandparents went to university? Does it make them less of a person? No. A person is more than what they study.

    Again, I would like to repeat I have the utmost respect for science students, as much as I have for those studying in any other field. I don’t think one side should “deserve” any sort of backlash for studying what they feel passionate about. Not only is it highly judgemental but it is also completely ignorant and unforgiving… and I feel sorry for anyone who thinks judging others like that is “ok”.

  8. To the Anonymous above, nicely put. Only an arty person could get that across so eloquently 🙂

    I would just add, anyone who has read Steve’s job biography or at least seen the recent success of Apple’s product will appreciate the large influence art and creativity has played in the technical world.

    Without art I wouldn’t be here on my iPad posting this comment* – and that’s coming from an engineering guy.

    *it probably be a piece of hard to use brick from M$

  9. It really makes me sad that engineering student look up to steve jobs. Apart from making shit load of money I really don’t see him making any significant contribution to the world(He was a hippy who sneaked into few calligraphy classes, ate shit load of apple and experimented with lsd) . I’d suggest you learn more about people like allan Turing, Shannon, tesla, or even steve Woz. (And I have read jobs biography.)
    About above post mentioning science sprung from art, I beg to differ, being creative, imaginative is not/(limited to) art. People can be sympathetic to author and say it’s all jolly good but the fact is that it’s not, they are different Tier.  It’s not being judgemental its telling you the fact and if one can’t digest it, just blame others for being ignorant. My grandparents didn’t attend uni but would it have made a difference if they did? . YES. A person is more than what he studies… We can argue on that forever as in the persuit of study one becomes acquainted with people, environment and ideas that greatly shapes who he/is or who he/she becomes. From your own article I gather that you feel that you are too dumb for science (and to naive for business?). To the author, how much effort did you put before you gave up on subjects that you didn’t enjoy before you started hating them? Again most(not all) people that do arts degree are plain lazy. I am doing an arts course because I enjoy them…… Biggest B. S. Who on earth does not enjoy music, art,movies (no caffine fueled late night atudies) etc you did them because you couldn’t be bothered to put an effort to your studies. I bet you’d swap your art’s degree for a medical degree in a heart beat if you could get it without working for it. Its not just Nepales that judge you based on what you study, it’s same all over the world. I take no pleasure in saying ×YOUR DEGREE IS WORTHLESS×. The sooner you accept the better off you’ll be.

  10. ^ Mate, do you even know the course content of an art degree? Do you think it’s all painting and click click take photo and done?

    Tbf, there’s not even a point in trying to make you understand the views that the article has brought across because sadly you are too clouded with your own deep-set values to even understand others without looking down upon them. (Really now? Calling someone too stupid for science, or too naive for business when you don’t even know them? Judgment fail.)

    I’m not going to go into this subject further with you, because it’s obvious from your past two posts that your beliefs are set in stone. However, I will end my last post with this: “If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree you are going spend your whole life thinking it’s stupid.” Do you understand this concept? Some people are energised by science, some people are energised by art. Their pursuits equate to the values they have in life and to be honest, don’t concern you or your judgement in any shape or form. You could argue that they didn’t “try” hard enough in the sciences to find the will to pursue it, but as humans we’re all different and have different priorities and values that fuel us in life. An arts student could equally tell you that you didn’t “try” hard enough in the arts. However, who really goes around pointing fingers at this age? We’re not kids.

    Also, you say “who doesn’t enjoy art, movies, music”, and you even say that they are your hobbies. However, that’s where the differences lie. Depending on the career that’s chosen after graduation, music and art will forever be your “hobby”, but music and art to these art graduates will be their “lifestyle”. That’s what they want, that’s not what you want. The point in which the original article brings to light is that the fact that there are many Nepalese who don’t value someone who dares to choose their passion of the arts as a degree and make it become their life. We should be more open to people who want to follow their passions, and respect those who choose whatever paths they want to choose (whether its science *or* art).

    If you still don’t understand this concept then, well, have fun living the life of a judgemental narrow-minded person.

  11. Steve married technology with science, engineering and art. Instagram was bought for a billion dollars, now imagine that happening without his contributions. He created a whole new ecosystem and opportunities for ppl. You shud go live in a cave because your mind is pigeon holed into our own greatness without any respect for what other think or value. ppl with passion for what they do are far likely to succeed rather than ppl who conform to society. and you my friend is someone who wil give up his girlfriend becoz she is frm a diff caste lol.

  12. I am studying Political Science and whenever I say it in front of people, they all give me this “weird” look. I love what I’m doing and I think most of us fail to realize that we all have our roles to fill in society. If everyone’s a doctor or an engineer, who will do the farming? Who will maintain the roads? We need to keep an open mind, in my opinion. 🙂

  13. Loved this truth develop country different varieties of businesses of various fields needs to be formed,not only doctors and engineers could develop the country.respecting everybody’s work and qualification is very essential.ppl needs to experience how difficult it is to study and work hard to success.if you want to develop your country it is very important to respect others work or businesses as businesses are the main sources to develop country by paying all the tax and vat properly with good government.ideas,concepts,creativity and commitments are core part to ppl be more civilised rather than backbiting about others work and education. All education are equally important

  14. “It really makes me sad that engineering student look up to steve jobs.”

    Apple has well engineered products.

    The sooner you accept the better off you’ll be.

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