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Why Is Art Sometimes Like High School Teachers?

Image by Pjotr Theebe via
Anonymous ART of Revolution
Art has several functions in our life, from social criticism to mere entertainment. Despite the diverse reasons why it exists at all, a reason stands out that shows more than the obvious, which reminds us of high school, when we take art as an artificial creation of reality. Those teenage days when angst was the primary drive behind our life, the teachers would solve all the problems, not those that we are facing today after a few years of over-rated adult lives, but those basic textbook issues that always have a formula or a law to prove them. Still, remember those days, when the teachers would solve the seemingly easier calculus problems while they would almost force us, like dictators, to solve those harder equations and alien mathematical expressions. I had sacrificed so many pen caps, biting and grinding while I was lost in the trees like Tarzan, but hardly missing the wood. 

How would art, which we have stamped together as a form of artistic creation with a high dose of social relevance, give us harder equations like the teachers? To put it bluntly, it only shows — it shows as if showmen would only show in a show nothing but what they must show. Howsoever it depicts the harshest realities, the most pathetic politics, the shameless politicians, the most hardened criminals and their ilk, at the end of the day, it is at most about portrayal and showing. Then, let the audience take the action.
Adapted from a gif from freeclipart.com

In its intricate layers of canvas — not necessarily only in painting but also in music, literature, performing arts, theatre and other forms — there are the trials and tribulation of life, all the problems and predicaments and posers of life, captured in fine details. The moot question is whether any of these art forms would solve them. I am afraid, not. To repeat, any art only shows. It is only in the brazen verbal expression of humanity, which we could identify ourselves. The best result is becoming aware of the filth that surrounds us. For example, in our hometown, we would say we listen to Tapta because its songs are a depiction of our collective life. He would sing about AFSPA, which we easily recognise, yet not even the harshest protests could convince the authority to repeal this draconian act, which is a huge blot on Indian democracy.
Clip from clker.com

Back in the school, unfortunate are those teachers who have no nickname. The choicest names always hang on the verge of sheer absurdity, which we would usually pass off as fun and giggle-able. Ironically, like the different teachers with different names, we have classified art into different names. Yet, it is still the same stuff when we take into account of their functionality. Just show, explore, depict, portray, paint, write and perform. In the end, it is about making a call to action, a marketing jargon that means a text or image that prompts the audience, turning prospective buyers into customers. Likewise, the various art forms could attract the people and they are only as good as how much the expression forms could prompt the mass to take some action.

Art is like high school teachers. When we look at it from a perspective, from its relevance to society, it resembles so close to them. We cannot help viewing it from another angle. Perhaps, this inflexibility makes art so expressive on one hand and replaces the lack of action with imagination and composition on the other.

Useful links


The Importance of Being Active By Christian Viveros-Fauné. From guerrilla architecture to radical politics, socially aware art is an increasingly common response to volatile times
The Science of Art Ramachandran, V.S., and William Hirstein. “The Science of Art: A Neurological Theory of Aesthetic Experience.”
What Are the Functions of Art? By Shelley Esaak. ...the functions of art normally fall within three categories. These are personal, social or physical functions. These categories can, and (often) do, overlap in any given piece of art.


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