Man has always had a desire to create. This has been true since cavemen used their fingers to paint on the walls of caves. The power of art is seen in many areas of society such as health, education, politics and of course entertainment. It takes many different forms like music, drama, poetry, painting and dance. It is a way for us to express ourselves and it awakens our senses but it is also more than this. It challenges us too, making us question and think more deeply. It can even be used as a therapeutic tool.
Artists see things differently and they use their imagination to create what they see. This helps us too to look more closely at what is around us. The ordinary is transformed and we may never see things in quite the same light again. For example, we may look at a painting of the sea and when we look at the sea again we are more aware of how the waves sparkle in the light and the color is like aquamarine.
Art has always been used as a powerful tool because it stirs our emotions Throughout history it has been used influence public perception in the form of propaganda. Visual images are used to bring about political change. For example, an image of a little Vietnamese girl suffering from napalm burns is thought to have influenced people against the Vietnam War.
Many cultures find expression for their particular beliefs through art. This may have a ritualistic aspect to it and involve face and body painting, playing musical instruments and singing songs. This artistic expression helps form the identity of a community and is passed down from generation to generation.
Many great artworks through the ages have been inspired by religion. Medieval churches, in particular, relied upon artworks to get religious teachings across to the many illiterate people. In the Renaissance period the wealthy who could afford to hire artists often subsidized major religious paintings. Michelangelo is one of these artists who was supported in the creation of his greatest paintings.
Artwork has often had shock value too. Think about the Mona Lisa wearing a mustache. This type of work tries to challenge our ideas and concepts. It is a deliberate attempt to bring about a shift in our thinking. Cartoons may be used as a humorous way to criticize society and its leaders.
Art may be used as a therapeutic tool. It has great value as a form of self expression for those who need healing. Experiencing the creativity first hand has a positive effect on the mind, body and spirit. This has caught the attention of scientists who are now conducting research into its effects on patients. Studies are showing how hospitalized patients heal both physiologically and psychologically through artistic expression. It decreases pain, fatigue, depression and anxiety. Chemotherapy patients who are encouraged to paint during treatment also showed great reduction in stress levels.
It is a beneficial form of therapy for those dealing with trauma of any kind such as war, domestic violence or rape. It enables these victims to express their emotions, particularly those who cannot speak. Children suffering from life threatening diseases, when given access to arts programs, have the opportunity to share their stories of courage and hope through art, music, poetry and dance. It has also been used as a tool for educational purposes.
Art is a joyful form of self expression. Artists create works that are meaningful to them and others find inspiration in them. These works uplift the senses and stimulate the imagination. The power of art can be used as a tool in many different fields from politics to education. One of the most powerful benefits is its therapeutic value where it has been proved to foster healing.
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