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Why artists will save the planet

We are living in challenging and exciting times. The world is changing fast and not as we’ve known it. How should we address complex global issues from inequality over pandemics to climate change?

On the search for solutions the arts and creative industries are often overlooked; whereas art has the power to move people and offer new experiences. Art presents reality in a way that may change the vision and perspective of the audience towards the world. Be it painting, drama, song, a novel or film, art may motivate people to think about life positively or differently. Art offers a unique way of understanding the meaning of life and how beauty and pleasure could be part of existence. It combines the imaginary world with reality and encourages people to change their thinking and perceptions. Good art has the power to engage with the world to change the world.

I truly believe that creativity drives innovation, and it is creative innovation that will disrupt the current systems that are failing people and planet – Kerry Bannigan, Conscious Fashion Campaign

More and more artists aim to breakdown rules and to provide a source of stimulus. They are becoming rebels with a cause, who are providing their audiences with truly transformative experiences on intellectual, emotional and sometimes even physical levels. Arts and culture encourage us to trust our intuition, embrace uncertainty and to find unorthodox ways of approaching contemporary issues. Art can take the form of protest, addressing political and social issues with direct action. Works of art are potentially a great source of inspiration for economic and political leaders, activists and everybody who is interested in finding solutions for a world in crisis or who just wants to improve his or her own life by being more creative and self-expressed.

Everyone is an artist is a famous quote by Joseph Beuys. Beuys did not mean that everyone is an artist or creator in the usual and narrow sense, like a painter or a writer. For Beuys artist summarizes the essence of what it means to be a human being; the deep need and fundamental ability to create and to be creative. The way creativity is expressed, depends on the individual. Some are filmmakers, composers or sculptors whereas others use their creativity to be a skilled mother, manager or even politician. Recently the business and marketing guru Seth Godin has used artist and art in similar ways. He speaks of business as art and of leadership as a way of being an artist, of giving ones unique talents in an unmistakable and particular way.

I do think that art and creativity truly have the power to change societies and the world. It will take collective effort of artists, institutions and individuals to envision a better future and to take steps towards this vision.  As the playwright Jonathan Larson said: The opposite of war isn’t peace; it’s creation.

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Written By

Claudia Rinke is currently a fellow at the Pratt Institute in New York (Mindfulness Collaboratory). In her project she explores media co-creation with non-human systems. Claudia is also an award-winning and bestselling author and screenwriter. Her film NOW about the climate movement won the international GOLDEN NYMPH AWARD 2021 as best environmental documentary. Previously she has worked internationally with the UN, which also feeds into her creative work.

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