Art is always something new, something that hasn’t been there before, at least not in that form. It requires a certain amount of freedom, freedom of fear, to create something new. And new is unpredictable, therefore scary for many people.
Today is a national mourning day in the Netherlands, for the victims of the plane crash in eastern Ukraine. Another conflict area that is dominating the news is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see many one-sided and aggressive reactions on social media, conflict is frightening, you want to know who’s right and who’s wrong.
How can you deal with art in times of conflict and stress? Can you still make art? Obviously you can, many famous paintings and songs have been created because of conflict situations, like Guernica by Picasso. In ’37 Guerinica was the first example of planes bombing civilians, a new kind of warfare. Or Killing In the Name by Rage Against The Machine about police brutality and racism. Both are very powerful and by that controversial. Creating art and enjoying art can help to put things in perspective. By exposing your fear in your art, you can transform it. That is really powerful. People will love it or hate it. If you take that risk, it’s helping yourself and everyone who wants his/her fear to be transformed too.
Art used like that is very powerful and therefore seen as dangerous too. It can transform and diminish fear. Conservative people need fear to control others, as artist you take away their weapon of fear. That’s why the Israeli artists who stand up for peace and mourn victims on both sides of the conflict are attacked by conservative Israeli. It’s controversial to transform fear, because it’s so powerful.
To make art, you don’t have to be free. You just have to use your art to transform fear. That’s the true freedom of an artist!