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Imagine a generation raised without art

Written by Arts

What would a world without art look like? Most likely a few less of those pretentious ‘artists’ making millions off an unmade bed or slicing a cow in half and suspending it in a box? Perhaps. But think harder.

Whilst it is true we have no proof that the colours I see are the colours you see, that a world without art would be predominantly autonomous, simultaneously a world without art would cease to exist. No matter how little value you place upon art, it is wholly impossible to state that art is not intrinsic to quotidian life.

Forsaking the arts would leave a world manifested solely in letters and numbers, and more than likely, the colour grey.

People underestimate the boundlessness of the arts, the incessant list of forms it takes. Comic books, clothes, make up, books, film, theatre, dance, music, furniture, buildings – it is inescapable. Simply put, a world without art isn’t actually a world.

As George Bernard Shaw stated, ‘Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.’ Forsaking the arts would leave a world manifested solely in letters and numbers, and more than likely, the colour grey. Our self-expression harnessed in to solely language, mathematics, the static, the definite, the dull. Exploration beneath the immediately tangible would terminate. Yet, even this world preponderantly comprised of business would also collapse; of course, there would be no one in graphics to design the advertisements, but would there even be any stock in the first place?

And, of course, it goes further than that. Art can stimulate change in the world. It can cause a reaction. Protest art; the Guerrilla Girls battling sexism, Sophie Ernst’s Silent Empress tackling colonialism, Kristen Visbal’s Fearless Girl speaking for the half of us enduring the patriarchy, art is the purest mode of expression. As Georgia O’Keefe said, she ‘found [she] could say things with colour and shapes that couldn’t be said any other way;’ things for which there were no words. Now eliminate this. Take on the monotonous droll of every day life; there is no deliverance.

Dostoevsky once said that ‘The world will be saved by beauty.’ And you will agree.

The appreciation of beauty is what makes us human; in a world without art we would be void of feelings, of souls. It is our humanness that allows us to perceive things as art – a rainbow is just a diffraction of light through water droplets. Flower petals are just varying pigments of flavonoids. It is our heightened status of awareness that permits us to place value on these, and all the other states of beauty that envelop us. Imagination, creativity, these things allow us to reach areas within our conscious to connect us, and liberate us from the linearity of life.

From the first cave drawings, to the Sistine Chapel, even to Chance the Rapper footing a $2.2 million fund to the arts in the Chicago Public Schools scheme, art has weaved itself through every facet of our culture and our consciousness.

Dostoevsky once said that ‘The world will be saved by beauty.’ And you will agree.

Last modified: 26th October 2017

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