Liquid Ink

The official website of Gint Aras, Finalist 2016 CWA Book Award

The power of the imagination

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I took these photographs in Nida, Lithuania, on the Curonian Spit.

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Striking, yes? Imagine those people who saw this Christ when he was first hoisted up into the air at the pathway of the church. This church here, built on a sandy hill in Nida:
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These people, late 19th Century Lutherans, most of them having lived their lives in the peace of the Curonian dunes, had no access to the sorts of visuals we take for granted: Saw III or even photographs of the dead. People among them who knew violence had seen it with their own eyes on battlefields and in torture chambers. But even they had minds clean of any iconic violence, any representation of it, save in books. But the concept of iconic violence, the kind of artifice we know in Reservoir Dogs or even ER, was utterly inconceivable to them.Those people came upon this cross and were told: “This is God.” This. In the trauma of this sight, I imagine them cured, at least temporarily, of their petty concerns: Does my spouse love me? Will there be enough rain this season? Shall I find my daughter a husband? Will my knee ever heal? Will my death be a painful one or will I simply fall asleep one moment, never to wake up again? I must pray with all my might for the latter. And I certainly won’t complain, not by raising my voice, at any rate.

Such is the power of art. Of the human imagination. It takes imagination to create images and myths. And it takes imagination to consume, to turn an image carved from innocent wood into a series of emotions and ideas.

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