Unlike words, which come in sequences, each of which has a definite meaning, art provides a range of forms, symbols and ideas with meanings that can be determined by the artist.
Throughout history, art has had countless distinctive functions, therefore it is unfathomable to quantify art’s purpose to a clearly defined concept. This does not imply that the purpose of art is “vague” but that art has had many unique and diverse purposes behind its creation.
Art aids the expression of imagination (things, places, ideas that are unreal or unknowable) in non-grammatical ways. Unlike words, which come in sequences, each of which has a definite meaning, art provides a range of forms, symbols and ideas with meanings that can be determined by the artist.
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An artist can create visual imagery of mythical animals, religious concepts such as heaven or hell, fictional places, or carve out other elements through their creative minds. Art has become a practice that leverages the power of culture and creativity to catalyze change, growth and transformation in communities.
Every time we look at art and stand in awe of its beauty, it consequently awakens the creativity and beauty inside all of us. There is nothing more powerful than drawing inspiration from art that intrigues you. Such inspiration can, in turn, help you dwell on deeper thoughts and ponder upon more profound issues from a different perspective.
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A great artwork can captivate the beholder, even if it is for a brief moment, and have a lasting impact. The astounding aspect of such an emotional and inspiring experience is that it stays with the looker and the emotions are re-lived every time that artwork is looked at.
Artists started including the broader subject of politics in their art, too—painting satirical, humourous, and critical works on political affairs, and corrupt politicians and bureaucrats. Exquisite and poignant art has the dynamic power to underline the recondite nuances of a social cause. Such art can bring a moment of epiphany for the person looking at it, and in turn, be the much-needed motivation for millions of people
Now, you can assess why art is the best path to raise awareness for a good cause. Art is one of the few beacons that can spark the right light and bring an issue under the spotlight. Even without the use of words, art efficaciously highlights the very essence of a social cause and goes on to become a compelling call for action.
The influence of art is in many ways the influence of music. Artworks remain with us and keep us contemplating. Most artists are extremely conscious of this influence that art holds, which drives numerous artists to choose art as a means to express themselves, make a statement, or promote action towards a cause. Some artworks aim to start a dialogue about sex, identity, censorship, sensuality, sexuality, and societal constraints in an open and humorous way.
As an artist, it is important to delegate a significant part of your time and expertise to help raise consciousness and awareness for notable issues such as global warming and tobacco addiction.
I would like to give the example of an artist who depicts ‘Human Rights’ since he migrated to Delhi from Kashmir, due to the political disquiet there. Since then, he has tried to use art to reflect his anguish at the situation prevalent at his home. He strives to make a statement on human rights, rather than politics. He constantly seeks to highlight the turmoil that comes with separation from heritage and to bring to the fore the increasingly narrow alley that exists for culture and art in Kashmir.
Many foundations’ communities of leading social innovators and many forum cultural leaders have networks that can serve as role models who are leveraging the power of creativity and storytelling to address the world’s greatest problems. Since time immemorial, paint brushes have effectively addressed pressing issues, one beautiful artwork at a time.
Artists and galleries are increasingly coming together to either offer individual artworks or mount online exhibitions to benefit a range of good causes connected with the impact of various social issues. A pandemic may seem like a strange time to begin collecting art but if a purchase delivers the double whammy of making a charitable donation and owning a great work, then why not?
Keeping the old days alive is also the ‘cause’ behind many artworks worldwide. I grew up following the Telangana culture, traditions, and rituals. I recall various instances from my juvenescence, the ones that I desire to simulate and preserve through my art. I often notice how the essence of the old days seems to be vanishing.
A handful of people remember the old ways of living, while many don’t celebrate them. My art is an attempt to remind people of that era and to keep it alive through my work. I truly believe that old is gold, therefore art should carry it and make it ever pervasive.
While I create art that resonates with me, I strive to leave room for interpretation. Each person who looks at the artwork has a distinct understanding of it. It makes me pleasantly surprised to know that each beholder draws out a different meaning from the artwork, yet carries the innate message with her/him. For me, art is a way of venting out and reacting to situations, to talk about problems that we know exist, but hesitate to acknowledge or talk about. Furthermore, I leave it to people to decipher or interpret my works of art. I don’t narrate to them what to make of the artwork, and I believe that is where the true beauty of art lives!
Art is a great source of generating funds for the greater interest of society. Many NGOs believe in the power of art and its various forms like painting, photography, dance, theatre, music etc. that have the dynamism to change lives. The idea of such institutions is to promote art, and raise funds to support significant social causes such as health care and education for the under privileged. In the present times, damage due to calamity or coronavirus can be obliterated by bringing such issues to the fore, through art. It is only when the masses know about an issue that they will come forward and help those in need. Artists contribute to help raise funds by donating their artwork or by subsidized pricing.
By incorporating artworks that voice out issues that are often shot down in flames, your support towards a cause gets reaffirmed each time you look at the artwork. Through art for cause exhibition or auctions, you can donate to a cause you care about—and take home art you love. Now, that’s a deal worth it!
Contributed by: Minali Thakkar.
Minali is a sculptor, an art consultant and director of the art advisory firm Art Approach. She is also the Vice President of the Bombay Art Society (1888), a non-profit premier art organization for the betterment of fine artists. Views expressed are of author.