How Art Can Transform The World

Written by Hana, Teen Volunteer
Halifax Public Libraries' Teen Blog is written by and for teens. Discover more posts here.

I think one of our biggest problems as a society is that we feel untouched by the problems of others and by global issues like climate change—even when we could do something to help. We've become more self-centred and drawn away from reality. We generally don't feel strongly enough that we are part of a global community, part of a larger "we," to take action.

In an effort to reconnect people to the world and bring awareness to the global crisis, activists often use data and statistics to try to change public perception but this often leaves us feeling overwhelmed and disconnected, not empowered and poised for action.

This is where art can make a difference.

Art inspires us

Art doesn't tell us what to do. But, engaging with art connects us to all of our senses and most importantly to humanity. It can make the world feel more real, and make us feel like we are an important part of it.

When something sparks emotion, we are moved by it. We are transported to a new place that is also rooted in a physical experience, in our bodies. We become aware of a feeling that maybe isn't unfamiliar to us but maybe we didn't pay attention to before. This transformative experience is what art does.

This inspiring feeling and boost of adrenaline may make us think more critically, engage more, and propel us to take action.

Art brings awareness

Art has always drawn attention to global issues like racism and discrimination.

One of the artist's goals is to help people not only get to know and understand something, but also to feel it emotionally and physically. By doing this, art can reverse the numbness to social issues we have today, and motivate people to turn thinking into doing.

I think that by bringing us together to share and discuss, art can make us more tolerant of differences and of one another.  The encounter with art, and with others through the art, can help us identify with each other and expand our notions of who "we" are. 

The future of our world

I hope that in the future, art will be a part of discussions in social, political, and ecological issues more than it is right now. I hope that in the future, artists will be included in the conversation when leaders at all levels, from the local to the global, consider solutions to the challenges that face us in the world today.

Learn more

Interested in learning more? Check out the websites I used for inspiration and to source information:

New Yorker - George Floyd, opens a new window

Demilked - Abdalla Omari paintings, opens a new window

Abdalla Omari website - Vulnerability Series, opens a new window

Montenagler Fine Art - Importance of Art in Daily Life, opens a new window

About the writer

My name is Hana and I'm 16 years old. Before the pandemic, I always loved being busy and going out all the time, but after being at home for so long -  I've found out that I also really enjoy staying home. I've decided to use this time (during the pandemic)  to try new things and learn outside of my comfort zone - like painting and drawing.