Why do I want to make socially engaged art?
I feel like artist we have a social duty to question, raise awareness, think about the world and our society.
Because society is granting us (artists) many specific privileges, that aren’t given to every member of it. Society gives us grants, cuts us some slack, let us be as shocking as we want, break the law 1 (in the name of art) and above all, listens to us, gives us a voice. So I feel that, in the same way that anyone who is given a voice (celebrities, first ladies, journalists,...) you should think hard with what you want to do with this voice. As artists, we should do more than indulge in our personal art and start questioning.
According to Wajdi Mouawad, the artists director of Theatre Francais in Canada, and artist is there to : “derange, unsettle, worry, question, display, and making be heard the world in which s/he lives, using every mean at his.her disposal. However, for this to be possible, he has to make a move that is first going to derange himself, unsettle himself, worry himself, question himself, display himself, make himself be heard. An artist has to be both the ravine and the bridge”2
I would agree with this statement. I think that partly the role of an artist is to challenge society, question and perhaps criticizing it, but how can you have any credibility doing so if you haven’t apply it to yourself first? Also, by questioning yourself in my opinion, you are much more likely to induce questioning in other people then by forcing it on them.
As stated before, after graduating from high school, and realising that I was going to have to choose a life path, I was torn between art and politics.
Therefore, during my year abroad, I took political and social philosophy classes as well as art classes to try and make up my mind.
It wasn’t so much that the art classes were amazing (they weren’t) that made me choose that path, it was because of the politic classes. They were fascinating and exhilarating but they also were oh so depressing. It looked to me like politicians don’t get to dream, they have to be realists, make concessions, try to please everyone, which leaves very little room to actually provoke some change. The people who are supposedly given the strongest tool by members of society to change it, end up being impeded by the very people that gave them the power in the first place.
On the other side of the spectrum, artists can dream, bring people hope of better tomorrows without having the burden to tell people exactly how they are going to make it happen.
Therefore, I decided that I wasn’t strong enough or patient enough to go into politics and decided to go down the path of artistic fantasies.
I still felt like I wanted to be socially and politically involved however, so this is why I am here looking into artist that change the world more significantly that politicians have been given the opportunity to.
1. Heinich, Nathalie. Le Triple Jeu De L'art Contemporain. Paris: Les Editions de Minuit, 1998. Print.
2. Mouawad, W. Le véritable rôle de l'artiste, 2010. [online] Le Droit. Available at: https://www.ledroit.com/opinions/votre-opinion/le-veritable-role-de-lartiste-57464b43c2ddd786e2996c265ac92c4b [Accessed 1 Feb. 2018].