Different cultures are always intriguing, the customs and ways of a certain ethnicity and land. It's all so exciting to look at. We want to travel and experience it all. Traveling however, requires planning and financial stability that can sometimes act as a barrier but that doesn't stop those who have a lust to explore. They find ways to travel through and one of the favored ways is often immersing themselves in art. Art acts as a universal language that bridges people from different cultures and different times to speak to each other through visuals and other expressive mediums. Art communicates significant ideas, heritage, beliefs, traditions, philosophies and it narrates stories of contemporary lifestyles.
I sometimes wonder how humans lived years before now or what it was like to live in a particular era. We are always curious about the form of expression before languages were formed, the use of smoke and drums to express feelings, was that a norm back then? Homosapiens evolved, we developed systems, certain morality, ethics hence, cultures originated and evolved with civilizations.
Art and Society
Art can also reflect a culture’s concerns. It impacts society in numerous ways. It changes opinions, instills values, and explains the various experiences across space and time. Research has proven that art reflects and affects the fundamental sense of self. Paintings, music, compositions, sculptures, and other arts are frequently considered to be the storehouse of a society's collective memory. Art acts to preserve the facts of history to what the text can not hold.
Art is also often a vehicle for social change, it gives voice to the deprived, makes them feel heard. It has been observed that whether it is a painting of a beloved, a letter or a song that rouses emotions, Art has the power to charge an environment, shift cultures and inspire change.
The relationship between art and the human brain has long fascinated researchers. Researchers from Newcastle University, for example, discovered in 2013 that viewing contemporary visual art had a positive influence on the personal lives of nursing home-bound elders.
Art as a Subject
Parents often complain about kids in schools not being taught life skills. Art boosts the emotional intelligence of individuals who experience it, providing them with empathic experiences and exposing them to new languages, skills, worldviews and ideas that people use in society to function efficiently. Even if one does not strive to be an artist or work in the art world, it can be extremely beneficial for personal growth to visit art galleries and studios.
It not only helps personal growth, but it also gives a greater sense of the historical identity one possesses, as well as the identities of others. It can really help to contextualize your place in the world; what ideologies were kept in the past and how the human experience has changed, to see art produced by your own people and the cultures of others.
Even if you can not relate to or understand the perspective in a work of art, it does give insight into other times and experiences. Such an example would be getting our hands in clay and 'recreating' ancient pottery (amphoras) as our way of learning a little bit about ancient Greek culture, the images carved into Greek pottery marked important aspects of that culture. We are always curious and that is the best starting point for learning about the association of Art with culture.
Looking at art initiates a thought process; why is the work not related to you? What were the artist's intentions with which you don't resonate? What does this mean about the world in which they live and the world in which you live? All of these aspects help to create a strong sense of identity that is historical and personal.