|Pablo Picasso's Guernica|
"What do you think an artist is? An imbecile who only has eyes if he's a painter, ears if he's a musician, or a lyre in every chamber of his heart if he's a poet – or even, if he's a boxer, only some muscles? Quite the contrary, he is at the same time a political being constantly alert to the horrifying, passionate or pleasing events in the world, shaping himself completely in their image. How is it possible to be uninterested in other men and by virtue of what cold nonchalance can you detach yourself from the life that they supply so copiously? No, painting is not made to decorate apartments. It's an offensive and defensive weapon against the enemy."
- Pablo Picasso
As artists we must recognise that we influence society. Art has always been used to transmit messages whether or not it is the intention of the artist. It is this ability for art to transcend (through poetry, music, dance, theatre, painting) realities, making them more readily accessible to our sub conscious and conscious processes of understanding, that make it so important and powerful to the development of any society. Has there ever been a society free of artistic expression?
|Scene from Alvin Ailey's Revalations AAADT|
We can think of many periods historically where art has lead to change. The renaissance, the black power movement, the development of Aztec and Mayan societies, the current economic growth and opening up of China (China is now ranked as the #1 Country for Cultural Enterprises).
Throughout history the likes of Pablo Picasso, Martha Graham, Derek Walcott, Beethoven, Rex Nettleford, Silvia Plath, Bob Marley have challenged paradigms changing not only their immediate circles but also, providing the world new ideas of how to solve old problems.
The role of an artist continues to be important in weaving the fabric of societies. As we struggle to find creative ways to build tolerance and understanding in this globalised village we must examine things from the Artists' perspective and see if therein we will see truth......