The famous Vincent Van Gogh once said, “I dream my painting and I paint my dream”.
Through colors and mediums, space and objects, art binds stories and narratives in ways that no human language can ever communicate. Art is power; it communicates hopes and dreams. It turns wounds into light, a means to create an ideal world, a more humane world. Realizing the intense depth of Van Gogh’s words, we can perhaps understand insinuations of frustration with a world filled with atrocities. We are always dreaming of a different world, one that we create in our dreams. Artists wake up to materialize these dreams through bold colors and dramatic impulsive yet expressive brushwork.
Art has the power of visual rhetoric. It tells stories, communicates events, expresses intense and complex yet extravagant emotions, and contributes to change.
Would any civilization exit if it were not for art?
Could society ever blossom if it had no art?
Throughout history, art was used as a visualization tool of historic moments and events, religious messages, political movements, wars and conflict, cultural and social preservation. Art is not peripheral to social, economic and political change. In fact, art is central to change.
The beauty of art, as a language, lies in its creative ability to transcend beyond the limits of the socially constructed boundaries that we create to see the world. To see and comprehend how art shapes society, we need to look far beyond the social events and cultural spaces. Instead, it helps us reflect upon how social boundaries and political frontiers affect our lives. Art allows us to claim space, occupy medium, own the imagined and magnify the power to speak about the obvious and subtle injustices that shaped and continues to shape our social experiences. In the face of atrocity, art is refusal and resistance.
In the wake of the Libyan uprising, or the revolution as many like to call it, art played a vital role in the mobilization of citizens. Today, it reflects intricate narratives of the Libyan social, cultural, historical and political apparatus. However, due to the isolation that clouded the country for over 4 decades, the world is in a state of complete ignorance when it comes to Libya’s cultural infrastructure. That is why De-Orientalizing Art was founded; a multidimensional social enterprise that uses art as a force to empower women and foster cultural connectivity.
By Shatha Sbeta
Founder of De-Orientalizing Art