Posted by: Lisa Hill | April 30, 2021

Sensational Snippets: Becoming a Bird, by Stephanie Radok

I have only just started reading Stephanie Radok’s lovely new book Becoming a Bird, untold stories about art, but I just have to share her thoughts about the value of art. In the Introduction, she writes:

Art is often seen as icing on the cake, something to distract people, the spectacle part of bread and circuses.  But it is really a place for dissent, analysis, confrontation, celebration, rapture, learning.  A place where you can do dangerous things but not be in danger, where you can be controversial and be listened to without fear of reprisal (in some countries anyway), where you can hypothesise, generalise, be specific, light, heavy, oblique, critical, precise, angry, examine the past or the future, go out on a limb and fall off, fail, fail again, stay there, or get up and keep going. Art is continually reinvented and that is why it has so much value.  You can’t pin it down and tear off its wings.  Or if you do they grow back.


There is art history, there is art theory, there is art criticism but there are also much larger stories about art that involve its vital place in our lives, for confrontation, healing, growing, enriching and expanding.  There is liberation theology, perhaps too there is liberation art for freedom and justice.


…art and culture are too important to everyone to be swallowed up by the marketplace.

(Becoming a Bird, by Stephanie Radok, Wakefield Press, 2021, ISBN 9781743058022, pp.7-8)



  1. I have been listening to various pieces about art this past year. Must be a sign of the times.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think so. Over the past year, maybe people have realised the importance of art in their lives.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Does “art” here mean “visual arts” or all of “the arts”? I suspect the former, but I think these words apply to the latter?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I thought about that too. She goes on to write about making visual art herself, and the introduction includes her experience of viewing magnificent artworks in the San Marco Museum, but the subtitle of the book is ‘Untold Stories about Art’ which shows how experiencing art involves all kinds of art.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. […] you could see from the Sensational Snippet that I posted last week, Radok reflects not just on art, but on its purposes.  She travels the world (remember […]


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