The role of art


 “Art is not a mirror of reality
but the hammer which shapes it.”

—Bertholt Brecht

Since the known beginnings of humanity, people have been making art. The arts have been central in our societies, visible in our rituals and celebrations and even in our day-to-day, for example through how we dress and the objects we use. The arts have given us confidence and identity. They have created community. They have enabled us to have our voices heard and championed revolution. They have reminded us of the beauty of life. They have allowed us to express our sorrow as well as a joy. They have facilitated problem-solving, both within and outwardly. The arts are a proven powerful form of expression, communication and mobilisation.

With such potential, people everywhere are consciously recognising that the power of the arts can be harnessed to foster positive change. This week in Mali, the Bamako Art Symposium, is taking place, organised in part by the Nka Foundation, an organisation that promotes human capital development through a focus on the arts. There are several other examples that will be profiled on the blog over time as the discussion on art driving change continues.

Our continent is full of rich cultural diversity and art is an integral part of this. It only makes sense then that we should continue this heritage of creativity and apply it to improving ourselves, our communities and our environment.

Image: protest art from South Africa's Apartheid Museum.

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