Impact of art on Politics, Violence, and Peace

art violence peace

Art is defined as an expression of ideas as well as innermost feelings. Some use art to paint their minds in the same manner others use violence to express their feelings. And some artists represent acts of violence through their work, which is as good as committing the actions themselves. In this regard, we can look at violence as something more than a physical force, elevating it to a cultural level. For instance, some experts argue that taking a photograph of someone else is the same as violating them. You are seeing what they can never see in themselves, which turns such a person into an object that can be possessed symbolically. Chinua Achebe comments that sometimes a visitor will see what the owner of the house misses. This may lead us to question what taking someone a photo may be a violation. Well, a visitor needs to be respectful in other people’s homes. They should not consider themselves higher than the owners. In the analysis of US American race theorists, Molly Roger looks at many Americans who had photographs of selected slaves. Such an act has been seen as a violation since no one may have asked them if they wanted to be photographed.

Defining violence in a picture

There are complications in determining what can be termed a violation and what is not. One of the texts on the slave photographs indicated that the photographer wanted to let those who thought the slaves were invisible know they were wrong. The pictures carried a huge message of identity, showing those who saw slaves as lesser humans know they were very wrong. The photos were proof of their love, marriages, and expansion as well as suffering. Despite, seemingly a good thing, they say Pearl Cleage Polk says the photographer let his/her subjects “bloom” in a “safe zone.” It shows the photographer and the subject did not have such a close relationship. Once again, the text has been used to explain meaning in art, making it easier to interpret the peace of art. It could have been the photographer protecting themselves from the harsh environment as well.

Art sometimes may be done with good intentions, but the interpretation says otherwise. Many people overlook the element of photographic representations. What did the photographer intent to reveal, and what can we get from it? Is it wrong, for instance, to look at a picture that was taken without ethical approval? In this case, different kinds of violence differ in magnitude and meaning. The person killing someone on a photograph will be judged differently from the one taking the picture. And a person making a murder photograph is judged differently from a person looking at the photo. These differences in violence come as a result of different degrees of force. But when discussing photographic representation, it becomes difficult to use the term violence indiscriminately. Despite this, photographers accept the violent nature of their works. If it affects the artist, it will have an impact on the viewer.

Art and peace

Photographs and other forms of art can give knowledge about what happened in the past. The offer references to social, economic, and political configurations of a specific society. For many years, they have been used to tell stories of wars and how governments came into being. A single picture records a whole event in a warring time. But most importantly, art can heal the wounds of our past mistakes, reminding us never to take the wrong paths we had followed before.

Journalism is one of the most significant agents for visual representations of peace. It depends, however, on the interpretation of the viewer. Most visual art often negatively reference peace. They show its absence by focusing on war, violence, and destruction. By doing, art can be seen as doing more harm than good; such images can trigger the opposition to war. Photographic intervention in violent situations seeks to evoke the sympathy of others to intervene and salvage the situation. This is why many times; we don’t ask what photography of peace should like. What we get in the end is the predominant war photography in journalism, which may make things even harder.

What can be called peace photography depends on where it comes from and its audience. This means a photograph can only be seen as a peaceful one if defined so by a large number of people. In principle, any picture can be seen as peace-oriented and discussed so. This is also true in the definition of peace as the absence of organized, large-scale physical force. If there is any photograph dealt with in a nonviolent manner will become a peaceful piece. Since many photographs collected at the family level mostly luck that negative force, they are seen as nonviolent.

Note, however, that what some viewers regard as peaceful may be violent to others. For instance, the photograph of the World Trade Center taken before the attack in September 2001 is described by Fred Ritchin as a peaceful reflection of what does not exist anymore. Such a description may be taken by others negatively, as those who view Twin Towers as a symbol of violence, economic inequality, and arrogance of power. A peaceful photo may, therefore, conditions that are not so peaceful.


Art is indeed an agent of political statues. Today, photojournalism stands as the most powerful tool for communication. It can either create violence or bring about peace. It is crucial to interpret every photograph to achieve cohesiveness, more than creating confusion. The best way to start is to consider aftermath photography. They all show the end of using negative physical force; it refers to the seeming absence of violence and introduces peace, as opposed to photos that show the lack of order. Many political powers have crumbled following a single photograph that evoked adverse reactions. Focusing on photography from a time when peace still prevailed can help reverse the situation. As they say, a single picture can carry a thousand words, and every artist has a hand in promoting societal bonds. Despite different interpretationsart violence peace, art remains a vital part of the growth and development of a society.


1034 Words


Mar 06, 2020


3 Pages

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