The role that visual artists play in our modern day society

Essay by geordihaklar March 2006

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Contemporary Focus

Visual Arts Studies


Artists play several important roles in today's society. An artist uses his tools, whether it is paints, pens, pencils or any other median they enjoy and find effective to comment on the trends society has formed, an important subject to the artists such as political stances and views and areas that the artist feel need to be shown to different areas of society to get across a message, such as the painting that depict starving children, death and war.

For my essay I would like to focus on the painters in our modern world that create works for a particular reason, other than the enjoyment of art. Artists may be good at drawing pictures on canvas but these pictures often lack meaning or have bland outcomes. Few artists now are brave enough to step out of the walls of their urban studios to explore the vast and mysterious world and the tales it holds.

The artists that embark on these journeys to countries such as Rwanda, Afghanistan, the Middle East and Iraq bring awareness to societies that have been isolated from the struggles that the populations of these places, plus many more, face in everyday life.

One example of a modern artist who tackles these issues head on through his outstanding works is George Gittoes. Gittoes, born 1949 has developed a practice of visiting the troubled spots of the world, working in areas that would normally be reserved for journalists and reporters. George gives society a powerful close up to conflicts such as the famine and peacekeeping in Somalia, Ethnic cleansing in Yugoslavia, de mining after civil wars in Cambodia, Pakistan and Afghanistan and the outbreaks caused by the peace process in the Middle East.

George Gittoes paintings 'possess an aggressive, but compelling...