What I Believe is Art’s Place in Society
Category : Arts
Art has become part of our civilisation since I don’t know when. Well actually, probably since caveman days. It is unarguably present in all aspects of our culture and activities. All of the significant historical events are brought to commemoration through the arts. Perhaps that is where (or why) we have the phrase “a picture says a thousand words”. It is the most important record in every society there is. It is through these that people are brought together as great accomplishments are being remembered and particular values are reinforced.
But what exactly is art’s place in our society? How is it relevant to us and our growth?
The most basic intention of art is to gratify the humankind with different kinds of beauty. As an artist, I let the people see the beauty in my works that whether they are in gloomy and broken circumstances, they are able to find splendour as they look at my masterpieces. Although I must say, I personally barely portray the bleak or the black. I use art to lift the spirit and rejoice in the beauty around us. I believe that emotion is what most artists are also trying to convey. Our art functions to refresh people and remind them that there are still better things and circumstances all around us.
Through art, people can have an unmediated familiarity with indispensable things such as love, hope, faith, and passion that are beyond description in words. Yes, also anguish, hate and pain are also expressed. These non-verbal aspects are the most meaningful but critical of human experience that is absolutely incapable of being fully expressed through words. Even though these experiences are accessible through connecting with nature and music, art can totally assist especially if it is of the artist’s intentions.
Art also serves as a means of expression of the existing emotions and struggles of the society it subsists within. As an artist, I can sense things. I can blow up what is going on and look for intuitions of what is about to arise. I can then put all of these into non-linear languages so others can absorb them and be moved by them.
Art can also function as a challenge to people. For instance, I know a few art pieces from colleagues that have been thought-provoking and triggered a lot of arguments. This might be a more subversive side of art but it can absolutely help in defining the social order we are in. Art helps garner the attention of many to causes that are otherwise disregarded. I have used a drawing I did decades ago depicting war … It can spark discussions that can either bring awareness or make a change. Moreover, it can inspire and inculcate strength to act upon the art’s meaning that is more likely undelivered in words because of fear. The more an art pushes controversial buttons, the more it becomes significant.
Art has the power to manipulate the crowd. Through a manifestation of what we, artists, believe and perceive, we can make anyone escape from sometimes unpleasant (or mundane) realities into the sanctuary of our fantasies. It is not only a matter of self-expression and self-communication but creating something extraordinary to share with others.
In addition, art is considered to be one of the well-regarded things even when humankind is not as accepting and as generous to differences. No matter how unique or different you are, the same art works for you. Art does not discriminate nor differentiate.
The evolution of art makes humankind become sympathetic, cultured and civilised. It is art that taught the first people to appreciate life in different dimensions. It is also art that educated them to defy controversies and stand against them. It deeply connects people as we, artists, thrive deep within our souls to teach and express feeling so that the audience can learn and inspire them.
However, the traditional concept of art does not only lie in the fact that it imitates life. Sometimes, it goes the other way around. Life imitates art. Some artists express their ideas so vividly profound that people changed the way they perceived them. Some things do not exist until art invent them. Through the use of powerful and advanced media, art has the power to change the society. Governments even use art as a means of propaganda and to influence the populace. Most often, distribution of art is filtered as to what the authorities and elites prefer. (And do not forget that photography is a form of art). All throughout history, there have been periods where particular art was set up and those that do not confer with what they want were not published, exhibited and performed. Most powerful figures can also establish their image into a higher rank by showing art that depicts them in god-like and positive illustrations. This way, people’s perceptions are changed and manipulated. Expression of particular ideas through art can be subject to control.
I believe, as an artist, our work is not mainly for decoration and beautification purposes but for far more valuable reasons. Art is, has always been and will always act as a mirror of our culture. Its representation of all things deep makes it a timeless tool that is intertwined with our existence. People can come and go easily but pieces of art will never fade. It will sail through generations to generations telling every society how the previous civilization evolved, how the present one is coping and what to expect from the coming ones. It gives us a way to recognize ourselves socially, psychologically and in all ways. In this society, just like the preceding and impending ones, art will always have a specific and fundamental place.