Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Art and our view of the world

I recently watched a multi-part series on how art has changed the world. From as far back as we can remember, there has always been some sort of art;cave drawings, sculptures and carvings to today's digital imagery - art and images are all around us. The conquerors of their time new how important an images was. we remember the strong jaw of Caesar, one of the first portraits to grace a monetary system. Gates and walls with carvings of heroic deeds to keep the peasants in line and scare off would be invaders. Yes, the image changes what we think of the world around us. Now a days we see something on the news or in a magazine and assume it's real. Even though we know about digital manipulations, in the back of our mind we know Brittany gained 100 pounds over night, or that there really is a Loch Ness Monster. The visual image is that powerful. So when the Obama administration lifted the ban on hiding the images of the flag draped coffins coming back to the US it was a very big deal. For years we have not been able to see this and without the visual proof the statistics of the death toll this war has taken are just that, statistics, numbers. 12 soldiers die by a road side bomb just racks up the death toll tote board. But seeing the metal caskets with the American flag draped over them, coming off the plane at Dover Air force base makes us realize that they are not just numbers but soldiers, people and in a lot of cases, just teenagers, loosing their lives in a war that we shouldn't be in.
The Obama administration has lifted the veil that for far too long has hid the horrors of war from our site. Art is powerful, art is inspiring and hopefully art and the photographic image makes us think. This war isn't over, realize what is happening and don't forget to voice your oppinion and get it to end.
The photo is from the US Department of Defense by the AP

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