Valery Zyuz

Art in times of War

Can art really start a war or end one?

Art always reflects. Throughout history, art was used as a political instrument and at the same time under a sense of crisis art may seem to have a minor role in our life. How can a painting, a song, or a photograph change something so big as a global crisis or war?

Art may promote war. Artists through history were commissioned to portray the glory of the leaders to generate popular support for wars. The death and material sacrifices were glorified in order to make a war legitimate. 

 "The Apotheosis of War" by Vasily Vereshchagin

Art opposes war and global crises. Just as governments have commissioned artists to generate support for wars, anti-war organizations and individual artists independently produced art that exposes the pain or promotes alternatives and peace. 

But can art really start a war or end one? 

Art is a reflection of society. A photograph will not end the war, but it may change the attitude of people toward the war. Art breaks the silence. Art is not for world leaders, art is for people like you and me. It reminds us of who we really are, it awakens our consciousness. The change is never instant. But as a true creator, you can create your own change, you can choose. You can speak loudly the truth with your art. 

Ai Weiwei has written: “Art is a social practice that helps people to locate their truth.”