Delivering on promise

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A group of contemporaries emerge at the same time. Several individuals show promise as sources of insight for their communities. Somewhere along the line, events catch up with many of them. People find reasons to explain why one out of the group makes an impact with a lasting body of work, while the others are remembered only for their early efforts.

Why does this happen? There is no formula. It is only when one looks back at the sequence of events that it becomes clear that the luminous one was blessed with more creative energy than the others.

Depending on the culture that they emerge from, the explanatory stories about the contemporaries falling by the wayside are sometimes attributed to the use of dark, otherworldly powers. The bottom line however is that they ran out of steam, or were not endowed with the attributes needed to sustain such work.

Will power and determination can drive individuals to keep on creating things, but this has very little to do with the energy that enables them to produce remarkable art.

Perhaps this narrative isn’t examined in enough detail when people reflect about the output of artists.