An art is a discipline or creative means that is very flexible. It could usefully be put in use at various levels and be an instrument of human expression that can “touch” the depth surely beside a sense of beauty. In addition to become a “tool” of individual expression it also has the potential to become a means of communal or group expression. Art can also be “mated” with various disciplines or connect a variety of disciplines – so the art can deal with a variety of things and matters. Ranging from a variety of disciplines, as well as religiosity or spirituality. Without having to put the diversity hierarchically. But it could also be equal or democratic in nature. In which the freedom of individual expression is possible, but at the same time appreciate the togetherness.
Within the context and scope of social and politics, the art that is flexible can accommodate a variety of questions on various issues. To creatively find alternative even practical solutions. So that when applied in community development activities – it can be a very effective medium. Through extended creative exploration definition of art is then widened in such a way that it is not in distance with life. And not be restricted only on the level of aesthetics of the classical and traditional terms. In this case what is meant by contemporary understanding is very open to new possibilities. Even if there is some kind of “clash”, it will be usually seen as a positive thing for dynamic values.
Various methods and strategies can be developed to make new possibilities be applied. Not just a mere theory, confined to ivory tower institutions or commercial galleries. Indeed, this understanding is closely related to philosophical questions on the meaning of “freedom” that become embedded in the practice of contemporary art. Thus some artists are challenged to discover the meaning of creativity and art within the frame of complex life. Or being responsive to the problems of real life that could further stimulate the imagination and fantasy and creativity itself. So that art and creativity can continue to be driven in order to benefit for life. Not being dwarfed only as decoration.
Take a concrete example that is the problems of the marginalized communities. They usually face typical problems such as: poverty, access to education and limited information sources, lack of resources, often become the object of exploitation and manipulation, women and children tend to become victims of oppression and violence, the environment tends to be poor and polluted. And conflicts are easily ignited. In this case the art in the form of a very open creative exploration could be a catalyst to enable the communication of various elements in the community. Open the communication and dialogue to build mutual understanding or finding alternative solutions of the problems. So that it can strengthen the sense of community or solidarity.
Thus empowering the community through creative and alternative ways without having to be limited by the definition and art in rigid format can help the community to clarify its identity (which is usually quite problematic). The opening of the communication valve and open dialogue among the members of the community can strengthen the closeness of the community in facing various problems. Also the participation of members will be something that is appreciated and self-awareness of the principles of democracy becomes stronger. So the mapping and identification of problems can be done in unity without discouraging the contribution of strength and potential of individuals. So when the friction and even conflict occur, it will be easier to negotiate and overcome.
Bandung, October 2015