In many ways, life is lacking in opportunity right now. The global pandemic has caused a huge increase in unemployment, and people’s plans have been halted or changed in ways we wouldn’t have thought possible before. However, times like these can provide some opportunities, and one of those opportunities is in art. Art can communicate many things about personal vision and emotion, but it also communicates experience. In this way, art can communicate what we have been through to future generations. This will help them to understand what is possible and open their eyes to ways to prevent and cope in these types of situations.
The experiences of the current pandemic are not simply that there is a new virus. There are many experiences including heroism, greed, and terrible decisions. There’s the failure of government to create enough supplies to protect their people. There is also the fear of the families staying at home with no certain end to their social isolation. Cleaned out grocery stores, closed small businesses, insider trading, and price gouging show the inherent weaknesses in society and the immorality of some with power. Not everything is negative. There are heroic stories of frontline medical staff and grocers who keep lives functional, and there’s mail delivery, which continues despite everything.
How Experiences Transform Art
The transformation of these experiences into art media could be viewed as the exploitation of the human condition. It could also be argued that while the wartime medic tends to soldiers’ wounds, the cameraman communicating the real story of casualty must capture the essence of the event in order to bring it back to the people. In this way, art has a social responsibility to inform people about the intense and harsh realities that we hope to not experience firsthand. It is not exploitation but rather documentation.
How Art Brings Hope to Tragedy
Art is not only about shedding light on the negative and miserable experiences in tragedy, but it is also about hope. Even the depictions of the worst of times remind us that those times are behind us. They are a constant reminder of how bad or how good things can get, so we can appreciate our current state or know that a bad state will end. During this pandemic, there will be plenty of tragedy but hopefully also plenty of hopeful stories that cause people to regain confidence in humanity. All of these stories will need to be told, and art is the perfect way to do that.
I just finished the painting above and entitled it “Cherished Moments”. We can either take this moment with our family and/or memories, to cherish them or we can focus on the negative. I think you know which road I take.
dei gratia, Milessa