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  • Karen Queller

What is the Role of the Artist in Our Society?

Risk Taker. When I think of this question this is the first phrase that pops into my mind. I see an artist as someone who is willing to break norms. Someone who is discovering for themselves through their own embodied experience how they want to move forward.


When you imagine an artist, what do you see?

How would you describe what that person is doing?


I see someone who is moving objects, observing and re-working scenes, trying different fabric arrangements, shaping their world and assembling materials that they have into an aesthetic and inspiring creation. Weather it's assembling furniture to fill an empty room, soldering a silver plate into a ring, taking a white canvas and streaking it with lines of blue and green and orange, the artist is creating something out of a simple frame.


The artists make space for things to change. They help support our flexibility as we are able to identify and expose our rigidness and weaknesses. In a paper called 'The Art of Resilience' the author says, "Resilience, like art, permeates and shapes our cultures and constitutes a responsive and generative field that enlivens individuals, neighbourhoods, communities, institutions, and societies. Resilient cities adapt rapidly and creatively to constantly changing conditions." The artists pave the way to allow these changes to continue with out getting attached to what we think 'the answer is'.


There is also something about vision here. Being a visionary. "Art can be disruptive. In this sense, artists are the outsiders: the powerful strangers who pose discomfiting questions to the self-satisfied, who speak truth to power. Artists are the ones who scan those horizons, who act as scouts and heralds of what is hidden and what is to come."


As artists, we are the one who can bring up taboo topics and give space for them to dialogue within the community. Think of all those stand up comedians. They often say things we wouldn't dare to say out loud. The more truthful what they talk about is, the more the audience laughs. We feel some kind of relief that the pink elephant in the room is being noticed and talked about.


What in our surroundings is calling us to put on our artist smock, and call attention to it. Is there something you have been scared to address or that might be deemed as inappropriate by society, that art can help bring to the surface? What is wanting our attention?



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