Manuela Bosco: 100-year-old Finland is a land of paradoxes
The spectacular guest appearance of the Finnish National Ballet at the Royal Danish Ballet in Copenhagen in January crystallised exactly what art is about. Art is more important now than perhaps ever since our independence. That may sound like a strong statement, but I truly believe it. Art is just about the only form of expression that moves people – that gives them freedom to breathe freely, in and out. Art gives space that we would otherwise have no access to, at least not publically. This is what art has always done and will always do – otherwise art would be dead.
A life opened up by the senses
The intellectual climate in the world right now is going through massive turbulence. This is also evident in Finland; we are living a golden age of reaction and counteraction, which according to an optimistic view should lead to stronger unity for the sheer joy we take in equality, tolerance and shared effort. And this, if you ask me, is where artists should step in. To bring people together and into contact with each other – each guided by their own talent. Artists have always aimed at finding beauty where it is difficult to see and they bring hope and courage where it is needed the most. From Leino to Kilpi, Sibelius to Sella, and Rautavaara to Simberg. We have always nurtured movers and shakers, who have given their lives and souls to their natural vocation so that something inside the rest of us would shift.
Art echoes in the body and soul
Nobody would be interested in culture, let alone sport, if it didn’t provide strong emotional experiences. The most important task of art and sport is to lead us through our senses into the world of beauty, which is impossible to access by any analytical means. It is about a biological need to “breathe in life”, to feel a living rhythm in our bodies and minds. At its best, art awakens our senses so that we can sense and know the things that are important to us, even when we are a hundred years old. Such is art. Such is sport. Such is life. We have to feel it in our gut. We should not be afraid of it. The stronger and more authentic the – often communal – experiences that we share, the more real the life we lead.It guides us to genuine, mostly rationally unexplainable values, and brings us in touch with what matters. Just one such experience may change our lives radically.
Laughter, tears and song – and sacred madness
During the centenary, Finland will see an unprecedented amount of cultural and sporting events. This is no coincidence. We have thousands of great artists and athletes and many more lovers of arts and sports, all with an insatiable need to find the truth, beauty and connection. Before art, we are our most naked. That’s why we can’t live without art. We long for freedom, and art creates a socially acceptable framework where we dare reveal what we feel is true.
The centenarian will give us lasting memories
My biggest wish is that Finland’s 100th anniversary programme moves everyone whose lives it affects. So that everyone is so transported by an experience that it unlocks some new, fundamental dimension and changes their everyday life into something more elevated. As the grandmother teaches her grandchild in the Snow Queen, without a warm heart, life is meaningless and, if we close our hearts, it only leads to fear and distrust. Therefore, we should be aware.
Therefore, long live the arts and the truth in our celebrating hearts, because without genuine connection with each other, we are nothing! This is the secret of the beauty of a centenarian.
Let February move you!
Manuela Bosco is an artist, actor and former Olympic athlete. She has published several books and articles. As a member of the Centenary Board, she looks at 2017 from the point of view of art and sport.