Sapere Aude

Sapere Aude
By: Shane Guffogg

Amid this age of disinformation and the weaponization of social media, I started thinking about the word Truth. Is it a concept? Is it tangible? Is it objective or subjective? All relevant questions that are worth asking, because if they are not asked then we are destined to repeat the worst parts of history – stuck in a loop of recurring wars, famines, plagues, overpopulation, etc. 


Sapere Aude, or Dare to Know, was a battle cry for truth from the age of enlightenment; it was a philosophical movement that dominated Europe during the 18th century. The ideas were centered around reason as science began to explain the world we live in versus the misinformation of the church or the totalitarian rules of the kings. Sapere Aude was human rights that looked towards liberty, progress, tolerance, constitutional government, and separation of church and state. 

I wondered aloud what that meant to me, now, in the 21st century? Sapere Aude was my answer and question, which began manifesting in my work with the idea that my presence in that moment was my truth. The paintings are abstract moments that are painted realistically with light sources coming from different unseen locations, casting shadows as one moment crosses over another, just as one thought of truth can lead to a better understanding of what it means to be human.