On Art and Education


Art in Film is in full swing, and it got me thinking about art and it's impact. The thing about art is that each of us approaches it differently, some from the perspective of its history, for others it's the pure pleasure of the aesthetics, and for others still it's about the emotion it evokes. If you were to take it to a theoretical level (and if I remember those intro to art history courses correctly), there's 6 or 7 elements to consider when approaching a piece of work: colour, line, space, form, shape, texture... I forget the rest (please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong as it's been years!)

Personally, I've always found myself drawn to the story behind a piece of work - the purpose for which the piece was created, the reason that compelled the artist to do what he did [which is why I'm as excited about Art in Film as I am -- it's a glimpse at the inner workings of the artist through the lens of another artist]. That's not to say that the aesthetics don't matter - you wouldn't bother to explore something that didn't catch your eye in the first place, but what keeps the interest growing is the history behind it -- the artist's intent.

Thukral & Targa are two young Indian artists whose playful, punchy, pretty pieces of work are actually mediums meant to communicate extremely difficult messages and somber truths to Indian youths. The pop-coloured pieces aim to raise awareness about the transmission of HIV and to dispel misinformation about the disease. The playful nature of the artwork is intentional - designed to appeal to the urban middle-class youth in India whom the artists feel are the vulnerable to the disease, and most likely to misunderstand it.


Lois Lane hangs outside my bedroom door, it greets me every evening when I come home. While it doesn't remind me daily of the artists' intention (most days I walk by and just appreciate the fact that I've got something pretty on the blank space), it does on occasion cross my conscience. I know you're going to say, well, if it's hanging in your home, how in the world is it helping Indian youths? Well, this is where I think Thukral & Targa have been particularly ingenious. They've splashed their works across malls in Dehli, art galleries, and street markets to give their work as wide an audience as possible.

[Art in Film does the same for artists who were previously difficult to access. From Jean Michel Basquiat to the ever popular Ai Wei Wei, I'm looking forward to the insight into the reason for their works.]

So no, I'm not the only one who gets the message. Their work will create opportunities for youths to have difficult conversations that will lead to better choices. For me, that's the greatest impact of art - it's in the education.

More on Thukral & Targa here. The schedule for Art in Film here.