It is the biggest problem we face
as human beings.
For decades, we have been told to ‘express yourself.’ Embracing our individuality, embracing our flaws, expressing that which we truly feel, being ourselves with no pretension - it’s all good. But have we taken it too far, to the point that we are too focused on ourselves as individuals that we have forgotten to care?
This was supposed to be a moving discussion about art, but I feel instead of focusing on art as an expression of one’s individuality, I should focus on how art can be a tool to connect people to people. How artists can express themselves with a purpose.
The more access to data we have, the more means of connection to others - the more we become disconnected. But when you think about it, human beings still bond through appreciation of performance arts, visual arts and art in its more modern forms.
There are communities of people who appreciate the same film, Broadway musical, pop artists and so on. I think tapping into this can be a great solution to the indifference and apathy the general public tends to feel towards other people.
In a world that allows you infinite channels of reaching out, we feel more and more lonely. I believe art can be a solution. Art as an expression can be a moving force, as a thought and emotion provoking tool. It won’t tell us what to do, but it can move us to think, to act and engage.
You may say that art is a more of a guilty pleasure nowadays. It can be. But it can also be so much more than that as it can stimulate intellectual discussion. If you know the classic artwork of Elizabeth Sirani entitled ‘Portia wounding her thigh,’ you may also have heard about the debate it sparked among the art and intellectual communities at that time. In the painting, a beautiful woman is depicted holding a knife with a bloody wound on her thigh - thought provoking, interpreted differently, heatedly discussed as a woman doing what a man can, taking on the same amount of pain and so on.
Although art can be an intense way of expressing individuality, it is not entirely limited to that. Art is often defined as any creative work of a human being and that creative work can be a response or reaction to something beautiful or an idea, an incident that is personal or otherwise.
It seems impossible to put art in a box and define it, right. Doesn’t this ambiguity allow us to define it ourselves and give it purpose?
Since art in its modern form has gone beyond paintings, sculptures or architecture into posters, pop culture, photography, computer-generated graphic arts, film, music, theater and so on - it has indeed diversified. With marketing thrown into the mix, artists create art that is targeting a specific audience or is created with a purpose and it can be more than just possessing that piece of art.
Art that makes a Difference
Popular culture isn’t as widely accepted as art even though it is a creative expression. By definition, TV shows, movies, songs, comics, manga, web series and so on are art. Pop culture is what art aimed to be, a way of life. The power of pop art cannot be underestimated and its continued emergence and evolution insistently break all walls of conformity of high-brow art.
If we take what is defined as the art and give it purpose, empower artists to create art that can inspire audiences to be more compassionate as well as emphasize the urgency of issues such as war and the global warming - wouldn’t that be social relevance at its finest?
Yes, not everyone can be artists, but we all can appreciate that we can relate to, right? This is one reason why artists should take advantage of their platform to create art that I touch and persuade people everywhere. Isn’t this transformative experience what art is for?
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