Does art really have the ability to change society? Many have pondered upon this question and many continue to do so. There have been mixed responses for this question among artists, critics, and art lovers. We all know that art a form of self-expression of the artist and it can invoke thoughts in the viewer. Art is interconnected with our lives more than we realize it. From day to day activities to visiting a museum we live in the midst of art. Sometimes we recognize it, sometimes we don't. Despite all this, the direct and indirect influence of art is undeniable.
Many artists opine that art cannot really bring about changes in society while many believe that art has a direct influence on society and has the ability to change it. The artists at Tate Exchange believe that art can influence the way how people think and it can change society as a whole.
Let's take a closer look into the change-inducing aspects of art.
Art increases awareness
There are many artists who use the medium of art to create awareness and to let people know what is happening around them. The issues that we face as a human race is often addressed by artists. Most of the times we are ignorant of these issues or choose to turn a blind eye on them. In such cases, art acts as an eye-opener. The struggling phases of human life, the impoverished state of farmers, people who live in anguish and uncertainty, political instability, all becomes a story that is told through art. The social commitment of the artists is known through these works. These kinds of art make us realize the harsh realities of life. Many a time art provides the much-needed reality check we require.
Art can encourage people
There is no doubt that art can offer new experiences to the viewer. It can also encourage people to think beyond what meets their eye. Art doesn't necessarily have to be a painting to invoke thought in people. Other art forms such as drama, music, and theatre can also encourage people to think about the world around them and their own life as such in a different perspective. They are motivated by these art forms to look at life in a different light and that too a positive one. People also learn that different things have different meanings and develops a feeling in them to accept the differences. It encourages people to think outside the box and also to put themselves in the shoes of others.
Art is not only the innermost thoughts and feelings of the artists but is also a source of inspiration for others as well. An artwork on a socially compelling theme can invoke thought in a person and this, in turn, inspires people to do act upon that thought. Art has often formed the base of inspiration for others to bring about some kind of change in the world. An art so powerful aiming at the betterment of society can inspire many to join forces and be a part of that change.
A stimulus of change
It is beyond doubt that art is thought-provoking. If not, then there wouldn't have criticisms and controversies relating to art for centuries. It can be a stimulus of change in many areas such as knowledge, morality, culture, and politics. It has also the power to begin social activism because today, many artists are actively involved in social activism. People who share similar ideologies to such artists come together and they work together to bring about change. Even though artists as such cannot bring the change, they have the ability to influence the change-makers by letting them hear the voices of many unheard.
There is no denying the fact that art can change society. These changes are sometimes direct, sometimes indirect but at the end of the day art is a powerful tool that has been used to change who society works for many years and it will continue to do so as there is no other powerful medium such as art (music, theatre, dance, paintings) that can influence the way people thinks and become a catalyst of change. Art cannot tell people what exactly is the problem or the solutions, it can only make people realize the reality and invoke a sense of social commitment which can lead to positive actions desirous of a change.