Arts can be defined as a therapeutic tool for expression and healing. Creative arts have a tendency to trigger the need to reflect among the minds of audiences. Creative arts not only trigger reflection but also, debunk one’s ability to think in monotones. Art helps one see the world through a wide palette of colors and needless to say, art unlocks the horizons of problem-solving by prompting creativity. So, let’s talk about how this prompted creativity can help us in peacebuilding.
Arts can be perceived as a ‘transformative learning’ experience and this transformative learning can help one imagine or look at the world from others’ perspectives. Though, visual arts are open to all kinds of interpretations but, it does somehow converge to one focal point. This ability of arts to converge everyone to one focal point is the holy grail for conflict management and peacebuilding.
There are a number of powerful art tools that could be used for peacebuilding, to name a few, music, storytelling, theater, poetry, visual arts, etc. As we list these tools down, our minds naturally drift off to examples of arts we might have come across and how they could have been used in promoting peacebuilding and peace advocacy. Cynthia Cohen, a theater artist from Brandeis University, builds upon the idea of arts being a peacebuilding tool, “the creative arts allow people to give meaning to their own concepts of safety and security through the invention of new creations and works of art.”
The creativity and flexibility that comes along with art make youth an ample target group to be benefitted from it. Where art is an answer to destructive conflicts, it is also an outlet for emotions as well for those who cannot express themselves well enough in literal terms. Needless to say, art gives voice to the voiceless through non-verbal expressions. This expression gives art a cycle to channel education and change-making. Essentially, creative arts can use their power to unite people to create a lens through which new social identities, new thoughts, opinions, and practices can emerge which eventually leads to the avenues of peacebuilding.