Art and Artists have not just been change agents, but change leaders in society throughout human history. Most artists have been the source of inspiration not only for their admirers but even for the social opinion makers and leaders. Along with philosophers and scientists, artists too have occupied the top slots as thought leaders who have influenced the course of history. For the past few centuries, artistic expression have highlighted the human predicament regardless of religious or cultural divide. In the process, art has played a seminal role in educating the mainstream society of its concerns and challenges, far more effectively than any pedagogical engagement. To this date, artists continue to use their creativity to give shape to social consciousness about a whole spectrum of issues that affect every individual both subjectively and in relation to society. From women’s rights to caste bigotry, from drought and floods to ecological balance, artists have essayed various pressing concerns of mankind though a variety of mediums and innovative platforms.
One of the worst floods in Indian history was recorded last year. Most of the major states in the country were battered by floods resulting in huge loss of lives, livelihood and property and as always, in that moment of crisis, we as a nation, stood united forgetting all our differences. We merged all our castes, religions, cultural, geographic and linguistic barriers to display a rare unity. The common man jostled shoulder to shoulder with celebrities and we became a human ocean committed to a single goal – rescue and rehabilitation of the hapless.
Artists across India came out with unique collaboration propositions in order to commercialize their creativity for helping the cause of the flood affected victims. The contribution of 3.2 Crores to the CMDRF by the biggest Contemporary Art Exhibition of Asia, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale speaks for itself. This laudable humanitarian effort by artists, opened a new horizon in the way art interacts with society in meaningful and pragmatic ways.
Here is a shout out to the thousands of selfless souls who worked tirelessly helping the people in need – from the selfless cloth vendor and artists selling artworks to the celebrities who chipped in with generous donations – all contributing to the government relief funds substantially. For the first time, we also realized the potency of the social media to influence public opinion and channelize their energies into positive social activities that benefitted large sections of the affected society.
“Art begins with resistance – at the point where resistance is overcome. No human masterpiece has ever been created without great labour. ” – Andre Gide