Article 2014 The Year in Review

What did art bring to us in 2014?

Political events around the world have inspired artists to comment on them.

Thanks to emerging technologies, each event occurring in the world can be learned of in a short time. Surely, each event or news affects our lives, thoughts, our outlook towards life, but the major ones change us, instead of affecting us. There is no doubt that any excuse is enough for artists to produce a work in any discipline.

There is also the “art for man’s sake” issue and artists sometimes feel obliged to explain their ideas about a bad situation or event. Sometimes a poem written for the victims after an earthquake, sometimes a photo taken during tragic events, sometimes a comedian who serves their view on a politician’s words…

I believe that artists show their true talent and creativity of approach in this case. Even a work of art is based on creative instinct; some of them can be a way for the artist to declare their own thoughts. In this regard, it can be said that the factors such as the artist’s skill, or a viewer’s discernment of an artwork can be said to be very effective, even the artist’s attitude is arguable. I want to mention a couple of artists who reveal their attitudes and ideas about important events that happened in 2014.

Modified photos taken of Israel bombing Palestine

The modified photos showing the tragedy while the Israeli was bombing Palestine were collected from the many Palestinian websites and forums. They were published under the title “In Gaza, My Gaza”, but it is not known who took them.

Banksy issue

People interested in graffiti and street art definitely know him. He is famous for his mural works against capitalism, government and war, signed as “Banksy”. After drawing his works unseen by anyone, he became a city hero. News that he had been caught spread on the internet and his fans wondered if he had been caught or not. While these discussions took place, Banksy denied all of it with his new painting in Bristol.

Pianist Martello played for Soma victims in Bodrum

Davide Martello, the pianist who came to Taksim Square in Istanbul during the Gezi events, came to Izmir Gundogdu Square on June 16 as a part of a tour and played the piano for the miners who died in Soma. “I came for solidarity, whatever political opinion people may have. What has happened in Soma is very sad. I don’t feel as strong as I did in Taksim, but I’m here to contribute with my art”, he said. All income from the tour will be donated to a fund set up for the education of the Soma victims’ children.

Ferguson events inspire artists Howard Barry and Mary Engelbreit

The unfolding events since Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer grow larger. While following the Ferguson story, I found news about two artists related to the events. A graphic artist and children’s book illustrator Mary Engelbreit says: “The thing that drove me to draw that was seeing his mother and her face was devastating. She was trying to get to him while he was lying on the street and of course they couldn’t let her near him. I started crying. And I started drawing.” The second one is related to another graphic artist, Howard Barry. Barry was affected by a title he saw in a St Louis newspaper about Ferguson and he says: “This is kind of like my personal therapy that I’m sharing with everybody because I’m processing my thoughts on how I’m looking at it.”

The main thing I would say is the comparison about the approach of artists and politicians on social actions; how cruel and unacceptable comments were made by politicians about these events. On one side, politicians, the biggest cause of these events, were making angry statements, without compromise. On the other, the public had a conscience and sincerely voiced their reactions. These politicians will be remembered by their moods, enhanced by the magic of the lies they told, while the artists, who made these artworks and ideas, will be remembered warmly.

For this reason, thinking, reasoning and, ultimately, the products of this art are the biggest blessing to humankind. Thinking and believing in the good things that will happen is nicer, while a politician who does not know what they want is horrible, a pathetic situation. Art is the thing that rescues people from their loneliness, politics is the thing that sends a human to a grave and says it is for state security.

To think and to create something such stunning things shows strength, but politicians only have their armed forces. Thinking rescues a person from purgatory, which lies between the impossible and possible, and pushes them to produce a work of art. They can even question the idea that they hate. It is the work of courageous people who make the latest move to bring the caique from the sea.

People turn the different political ideas in their mind into a main idea that questions life. They realise that thick and high walls are only formed from rubble. People who experience these things are called artists and people who call an artwork “disgraceful” are politicians.

The parents of the young black men who killed in Ferguson’s response during the events there said “stay positive” in reaction to whatever the grand jury decides, and to remain peaceful. A 12-year old boy was killed in the US on suspicion of having a gun; a journalist was arrested along with death threats.

The pianist Martello, who came to Turkey to draw attention to the mining accident in Soma and to give financial assistance to the families of the victims, was accused of making a political show. The authorities made contradictory, stressful and nervous explanations to prove they were not guilty; some of them said the real culprit was the miners. The government’s rejection of the new law to apply current world mining standards to Turkish miners has caused ironclad arguments. The government does not accept the blame that its experts did not make enough checks of the mine. Besides the artists’ and the public’s reaction to these events is plain and clear, the politicians’ attitude remains devious, worthless and incomprehensible.

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