Empathy, no matter how much you Google about it or think of it as a moral responsibility of every human being, it is unfortunately scantly observed among people of our society. It’s a big challenge faced by every society that we often feel untouched, fail to relate or understand the problems and concerns of issues of humans on a global scale. Take climate change, for example.

People have failed to grasp that we are part of a global community that is something bigger than us as individuals. Problem is that people have too much freedom to access information about problems but they still remain disconnected and nowhere near empowered to relate or do something about in terms of action. Here, art can bridge the gap. It can make a difference that we direly need in our global society. Art as a medium of expression does not only call for people to grow awareness but engage – through different sensory recipients of body and mind which can help them to connect to an idea on a deeper level. In other words, art can make you think, feel, engage, attach and last but not least, take the leap of action which ultimately serves all the purpose.

We all can relate to feeling deeply influenced by different forms of art. Whether it’s the adrenaline rush you feel from Michael Jackson’s “Blood On The Dance Floor” while performing a bench press, a spur of emotion to read Edgar Allen Poe, the relaxation sensation triggered by ASMR sounds or simply a glimpse of Leonardo da Vinci’s contemporary work. All humans share this strongly rooted, personal experience of being moved by a work of art. We may be familiar with this experience but would not really focus on it. This is called a transformative experience which artists today continue to lay emphasis on.

Artistic expression is greatly benefited from this transformative experience that nearly all human beings can relate to. It is a much sought-after aspect that every artist tries to comprehend in their work. A brilliant example can be the Chicano Art Movement where queer art became a huge phenomenon. Queer artists like Edmundo Mundo Meza were at the center of everything in Los Angeles. He was a painter who was known for his design and performance. He partnered with many artists to incorporate art in their emerging political movements and social justice activism in Los Angeles. However, much of their work was left undiscovered until 2017 when an exhibition titled as “Axis Mundo: Queer Networks in Chicano LA” was held where the prominent works were displayed. The collaborative works where different artists joined together, ranging from different sexual orientations, cultural backgrounds, and communities, and it was a great attempt to expand the narrative of diversity. It was highly inspired by queer aesthetics.

Notable artists during the Chicano art movement engraved the idea that there is a moral responsibility of people to communicate ideas to other members of the society in helping them understand different ideas and not just that, but to feel them on a personal note. It was the finest manifestation of the fact that art has the potential of mitigating the marginalizing factor towards an idea, race, sexual orientation, etc.

Published by Julia Morison