Friday, June 24, 2011

Artistic rights are universal human rights

Did you know that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights issued by the United Nations in 1948, makes special mention of the arts?  It’s spelled out in Article 27, Section One : 
Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.” [Emphasis added]

This document is available in over 300 of the world’s languages, and holds the Guinness World Record for “most translated.”  It  appears in dozens of scripts, so that the ambitious letter artist who does not read Mongolian, for instance, can nevertheless use passages from this universal text in calligraphy designs.  I explain how to write most of these scripts in my new book Learn World Calligraphy

It's inspiring to think that art has been formally enshrined as a basic human right.  This statement adds support to the many educators, parents, and politicians who advocate for arts in the curriculum; art is not a luxury to be added on when there’s extra time and money, but a necessity at the core of our cultural identity.   

Caption: "Everyone has the right to enjoy the arts” written in Swahili and Georgian calligraphy, from Learn World Calligraphy: Discover African, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Ethiopic, Greek, Hebrew, Indian, Tibetan, Thai, Korean, Mongolian, and Russian calligraphy, and beyondWatson-Guptill, Random House, 2011.

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