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Thanks for us, but also for you!
What? Explain the Gulf…
Who? …through urban artists’ eyes.
When? It has already begun !
How? Reaching as many urban artists, curators, gallerists or passionates we can.
Why? Because it’s about time…
Through this blog we offer you to follow our quest. Melchior is the photographer and I, Quentin, would be the writer.
Art – Mirror or Hammer?
Art has always had a powerful influence on societal development, both as a tool to control and as an expression of the will of the people. Art has been used by powerful leaders to spread ideas, concepts, even beliefs and by the people, to challenge authority, sometimes propaganda, sometimes a rebellious act.
During the Middle Ages in Europe, the Catholic Church used paintings to explain the holy texts but also to frighten and keep control over the mainly illiterate population. Art was a useful political tool both to contain and unleash passions among people. Who decided that Mary, Jesus or even God himself should be represented as white people in paintings and illustrations? And why? Would it even have been possible for ignorant westerners from central Europe to understand or accept a black or Arab Jesus?
The temporal powers have also been adept at using art for influence. They used magnificence to impose rules and to intimidate their own people, building ever-bigger palaces and castles to represent their strength. A head of state would patronise great artists of the time to personify and glorify his rule, for example, Francis the 1st of France and Leonardo da Vinci. Even today, embassies around the world are very carefully chosen because they are seen as direct representations of their country. Even the poorest countries are ready to pour huge amounts of money into their embassies just to assure their diplomatic presence.
Art and power are inseparable but it’s a troubled union at best since art can also be used as a weapon by the people and for the people. Because it is a powerful way to communicate, art has often exerted a subversive influence. How many artists have been persecuted, imprisoned or killed because of their criticism of those in power? Didn’t Bashar al Assad’s supporters try to silence cartoonist Ali Ferzat by breaking his fingers?
In times of trouble, art is often expressed in the urban environment, through graffiti, murals and perfomances.
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