The universal human story is far too big and complicated to be told simply. Speaking in terms of ‘us’ and ‘them’ is fundamental to the way we talk about human history. This type of language is one of the reasons why we still have prejudices that divide and create conflict, as it appeases those who demand they write history. Art is an integral part of protest against complacent political speech.
The history of art can be traced back to the cave paintings in Lascaux, continuing to Classical art, Renaissance, Baroque, Realism, Fauvism, and Pop-Art, which are all artistic expansion and documentation on the development of the human interest and curiosity. Art history is like a creative journal that records how society has grown and shows the relevance between aesthetics, beliefs, and politics. Often deemed eccentric, controversial, and provocative, art is no-doubt a window to observe political, cultural, and social instabilities. Art constructs, interprets and introduces progress whether or not everyone is aware of its potential.
Although art poses opinions, it never directly demands specific action and never tells the viewer what to do. Art merely introduces common-place where it engages us and connects with our senses; it urges us to understand the narrative presented in the art piece and to find how it relates to our general environment. Exhibitions, drawings, and performances involve discourse of the art, it motivates the audience to observe and verbalise their interpretations on what they are interacting with. This exchange between individuals of differing backgrounds results in common translations of ideas that might be restrained by cultural importance. It helps us identify with the other and expands our notion of we – from the self, to the local, and to the global.
In times of upheaval and communities facing injustices, language can only do so much. Although language can build tolerance, tolerance is just that – to tolerate differences in opinion. Art promises much more; visual language is an essential vessel for cross-cultural communication. Not only in the form of flashy ‘powerful’ slogans, but in the form of expressed narratives guiding people to be witnesses and mediators of change. So, art drives inclusion of the other and cultivates relationships to bridge the gap of division.
Visual language lies somewhere between symbolism and materiality. To understand it the audience need to become part of the dialogue of the two. One must put themselves within the meaning of the work, acute critical analysis is not necessary just the conscious existence with the senses risen from the experience. This concludes a portrait of the challenges the society’s ideologies face when they allow the artist to question their beliefs.
If our frustration peaks is it not logical to protest against what makes us so uncomfortable? Being uncomfortable is good, because it means you are willing to change your situation and fight against for issues you care about. Maybe, revolution is a strong word, but even the possibility of people considering new ideas and contributing to a solution is a radical change. Visual language has the ability to get radical, or even intellectual ideas to a diverse landscape of individuals through intercultural symbolism.
It is important to believe in the capacity for the arts to connect communities. It should be our mission to create lifetime partnerships with the prospect of forgetting our divisive boundaries through experiencing emotional, artistic work. This opportunity offers a canvas for artists to fill the scene with passionate messages in combination with powerful personal accounts that narrate their struggle with their journey to identify with a political climate. The aim is to speak of our frustration, hoping to empower us to do something and to find a way to fight the political situation differently.