Art is the ultimate expression of what it means to be human. It is a beautiful way of understanding the world, of generating meaning from the otherwise disordered elements of reality. This wonderful medium enables us to convey profound emotions, thoughts and ideas which otherwise cannot be communicated with words. It doesn't necessarily have to be art painted on a canvas, but art at large, be it through songs, music, dancing, poetry or creative writing to name a few. Through pandemic and wars, we have seen more and more individuals use art as a means of therapy and wellness. Taking a look at history, times of political turmoil have produced and been influenced by ground-breaking works of art; for example, Roberto Rossellini's 'Rome: Open City', Pablo Picasso's 'Guernica'.
It is through art that we come to better understand our place in history, engage with different ways of thinking, and reflect. Artists have not only provided us with reminders of the horrors of conflict and the tragedies of personal loss, it challenges us to be different, and change our actions and pave the way for social change.
With Covid- 19, we witnessed firsthand how artists responded and the impact they created. Digital arts evolved rapidly, not only with regards to the creation of arts, but on how we engage with art and artists. For most artists, the anxiety and the feeling of unease of the present-day crisis, together with personal childhood memories have helped create some fantastic pieces of art where they express themselves in a manner which relates to the public at large. For example, an artist is able to use their liberty to raise questions which sometimes cannot be explained in words and to express their worry.
We are deal with global issues every day; we are seeing art being used as a tool to create stronger communities. Art allows us to not just understand ourselves but to understand each other on a deeper level. Arts create wellness in our day to day lives by helping us to come together collectively. It also allows us to communicate from afar, generating positivity and hope during times of turmoil. In times of social injustice as presently in Ukraine- Russia and Sri Lanka, art amplifies important voices and messages.
Art is a proven tool for stress reduction and well-being. There are plenty of studies which explain the physical and mental benefits of making art or even enjoying an artwork. There are long term effects which help boost our brain function and immune system as well as contributing positively to our mental and emotional health. Art helps us process trauma, express feelings, and work through experiences rather than being stagnant being caught in it.
As history has proven and the present-day political turmoil's show us, many oppressive historical figures are being removed as part of the current social justice movement.
On the contrary, as explained by Matthew Clark of United visual arts, if art gets forced into a corner or people become afraid to express their feelings and thought through art, it can be difficult as there is no outlet for new ideas and room for different opinions. For light there needs to be darkness. According to Ezra Miller, Art has a social role- especially in bringing people together. Art has the power to promote social change. I think people are really wanting to make strides to mobilize and create works which have more social meaning and real social power, that can bring people together and dismantle power structures.