Apart from its use to release emotions and to decorate the surroundings, art has been used, throughout history, to express the struggle against social inequalities, cultural oppression and political instability. In these days, there are many artists like Banksy, who depict any form of social injustice through graffiti paintings, in public places in the world. Like the other artists before him, he uses art to express his concerns about the society.
What is art for peace?
Art for peace involves any form of carefully organized artistic activities, which include plays, dance, paintings, yoga, music, or merely the art of speaking which Prem Rawat is good at, with the aim to bring about positive behavioral changes. As in sport, art serves as a point of entry into peace consolidation.
Art for peace does not aim at conserving its initial purpose; instead, it serves as a means to transmit the artist's objectives to transform conflicts into peace. Why using arts for peace? How can arts become an efficient entry point and important means of peace consolidation?
- Through art, it is easy to target children and youths: art is creative and flexible. As a result, it becomes an excellent tool to target groups of individuals, especially youths. In many cases, arts can equally impact more since it enables parents, or tutors, to better understand how a child feels. Furthermore, art encourages children and youths to think, to solve problems, to use symbols and to record their thoughts, ideas, and feelings in a new way.
- Through art, deprived people can speak out: such forms of art as drawings and sculpture offer a background on which individuals express difficult feelings, especially because they are unable to express those feelings with words. Therefore, those who hesitate to verbalize their thoughts and their fears voice their thoughts through art.
- Arts reveal individual experiences: through arts, individuals can express themselves. Whether it is a sketch designed to find clarity after experiencing violence, or a written article in the newspaper to express repressed feelings, art can reveal an individual's personal and hidden experience.
- Arts transmit concrete messages about change: Through arts, artists can create tangible products, such as drawings, photographs and performances, which can be shared among a larger community. Emotions which are hard to voice can be expressed through a painting, a poem or a sculpture which is shown to the others.
- Arts are cost-effective: arts can bring about considerable, sustainable, durable positive changes into the community at a low cost. Without requiring any far-fetched tools, artists can do it only with any available resources. The only vital instrument for art is imagination.
Organizations which promote art for peace
Several organizations go in for the use of art to promote peace. Some of those organizations are international, while others are locally based; and all of these organizations have an important role for so that peace is established. We can note for example International Child Art Foundation (ICAF), Global Art Project for Peace, and also Prem Rawat Foundation.