The same is true with most other art forms as well. Indeed, the Internet has helped the medium of radio reinvent itself, as many independent journalists have collaborated to establish listener-supported radio stations that are free of advertisements and the attendant pressure that the latter brings to the editorial process. Through this medium, a new genre of music has evolved that pertains with subject matters such as poverty, abuse of power, the state of democracy, social injustices, etc. These songs may not have the same popular appeal as those produced by leading music labels, but they exhibit virtues such as honesty and compassion. Again the artists that venture in this direction are attracting the ire of the establishment. The banning of Dixie Chicks’ songs from all Clear Channel radio stations due to their open disapproval of it is a case in point.
But of all the forms of art that have taken up war (especially those instigated by the United States in recent times) as their subject matter, the literary art is the most vocal outlet of dissent and free expression. In so far as the non-fiction genre too is considered an art form, a wide range of critical commentary has been inspired by ongoing military engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq. The incisive analysis of intellectuals such as Noam Chomsky and Christopher Hitchens is a classic illustration. Although the viewpoints presented by them are the exact opposites, they nevertheless contribute to the public’s understanding of the situation and to that extent serve a democratic purpose.
So, in conclusion, it is fair to say that the infusion of art into current socio-political issues (the most important of which is American military intervention) has been a beneficial one. It has benefited both the general public and patrons of art equally by making the discourse interesting, perceptive and multi-dimensional. And aforementioned examples of artistic portrayal of ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq go on to prove the effectiveness and relevance of all art forms in helping our society progress. Hence art can be a powerful instrument for progressive social change.
Karen Malpede’s Prophecy, Theater Three Collaborative, retrieved from , on 6h September, 2010.
Art for Social Change, retrieved from <http://www.artforsocialchange.net/home.html>, on 6th September, 2010
Groys, Boris, Art Power, Cambridge: MIT Press, Published in 2008. ISBN 0262072920.