The importance of combining art and critical thinking skills, in a myriad of formal and informal approaches, can prove very effective in improving the quality of life for individuals and societies.
Over the years, art and the humanities have been sidelined. And of course, along with the sidelining came hundreds of thousands expressing the need to incorporate art into our lives- in schools, colleges and other institutions.
But art is an essential part of human history so art along with incorporating art in our lives, it also needs to be emphasized and celebrated.
Art has been a medium of communication and expression from the very beginning of human civilization. From cave paintings to digital art, art has adapted and taken different forms over centuries. Art gives people space for creativity and imagination, and by doing so, helps keep the human spirit alive.
Witness the world from an artist’s perspective
When you look at any artwork, you are not just looking at a canvas with some paint splattered on it or a sculpture of a historical figure. In fact, you are looking at hours of toil and passion coming together to create a piece of work that allows you to look at the world in someone else’s shoes. Art has the power to evoke feelings of empathy.
Seeing the world in a whole new light is an enlightening experience which can inspire and motivate people to do great things.
Even the most analytical and practical minds would find their feelings evoked after seeing extraordinary art.
Archiving human experiences
History has been recorded in art- in paintings of victories and great losses in battles, fires and floods, birth and death, destruction and creation and even despair and hope.
Art has helped create a narrative of history for the future generations to follow but history involves the good and the bad, and art reminds us not to repeat past mistakes.
Propaganda art from fascist regimes are reminders of the influence that artwork has over the public psyche and the course of culture in general.
But the thing about art is that its interpretation can change over time. The propaganda art is now a reminder of the hate that our ancestors had to fight through, with the good side winning in the end, keeping the art relics in a museum to remind us not to fall into the dark side.
As the world erupts in protests in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movements, statues of oppressors are being removed to make way for progressive figures that can inspire generations to come.
“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”
Art is a medium of resistance
From Anti-Nazi resistance to Anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, art has been used as a form of protest across generations.
Movements are sustained and eventually turned into victories with a lot of help from artworks and imagery. Artwork created in the face of oppression have become powerful symbols of resistance and standing up for what is right. The political side of a movement is not just empty words spoken loudly, in the end, it is art that stays in a person’s heart- inspiring them and evoking powerful emotions.
Art brings people together
Art has the power to encourage community-building experiences.
Finding people with common interest and ideals through art is a common occurrence.
The impact created by art on even a group of people is a significant matter, as bringing people together is a difficult task. The ability of art to highlight the similarity of seemingly different people and thus helping form human connections is an extraordinary feat.
Art is complex
Merely looking at the artwork from the surface isn’t enough. Art often has layers of meaning to it. To really understand art, one has to engage intellectually by looking at its context, texture, method and expertise.
Critically engaging with art makes you more informed and opens you up to different cultures and experiences.
The saddening decline of appreciation of the arts is something that must be dealt with urgently, especially at a time when we need the unifying power of art. Art is a necessary part of all of our daily lives. Everyday designs, architecture, even most of the content you consume has many aspects of art in it.
At Dhayas Foundation, we help sustain and nurture art & artists to keep the tradition of art alive by providing a digital space.