Conflict is one or more opposing things, ideas, ideals unable to find common ground and or compromise.
Or more eloquently put by Wikipedia 'Conflict refers to some form of friction, or discord arising within a group when the beliefs or actions of one or more members of the group are either resisted by or unacceptable to one or more members of another group.'
Nice little picture there of the most unconvincing mass brawl ever.
So, if conflict is born from not seeing eye to eye peace surely must be found in the lush plains of finding common ground.
Art has an uncanny way of facilitating that. When you go to a concert, art gallery, cinema, theatre or anywhere where creativity reigns you find that you meet the weirdest, most wonderful, inspired cross section of people you'll ever see outside of Luton Airport.
Note: Inside joke, as Luton Airport is home to budget airlines and everyone appreciates a cheap holiday so yeah... I feel as if I've destroyed the joke by explaining it.
Art brings people together. From different races, beliefs, genders, sexual orientation, political affiliations and different degrees of cake appreciation. Is it no wonder the most oppressive societies and autocratic regimes try all they can to suppress creativity and freedom of expression. The power we as creatives hold in regards to shaping the world now and in the future is phenomenal.
Airy fairy hippy stuff?
Go back and see how many revolutions, movements and emancipations were started by art. Too many for it to be a mere coincidence.
Here are a couple modern day ones:
We had a critique on gun violence in America - among young people in particular - the experience and the story of those that are compelled to commit these atrocities in Matthew Johnson's The Dirties (2013). Now there is a genuine national debate on the issue, not saying that this film single-handedly brought that about but in terms of giving people pause for thought especially the younger generation you can't rule out the role it played.
Then there is Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing (1989). Birthed from the erosion of race relations within United States in the late 20th Century, it addresses the topics of not only racism itself, but also perceptions on the injustices of prejudice in post civil rights America. The movements that we see today for greater justice and equality speak for themselves.
The list goes on and is inexhaustible - please feel free to give a shout out to the many I've missed on our page. Whether you agree with the messaging or not art helps dispel ignorance and gives us the 'safe space' to bring up and start these tough conversations. Art has the ability to make you think, see things from a different perspective, the other persons perspective. It makes us feel in a way that words alone just can't and find that common ground.
You really can't discount the impact that has on people. So, continue making your art, telling your stories and bringing around world peace once and for all one piece at a time.
Side note: For sure there is so much more to creating genuine peace in the world. What I am saying is that art plays a significant role in that even though we may not be sitting in Parliament. We dictate popular culture, trends and have the ability to shine a light on topics that people are too fearful to bring up for what ever reason. If we use it for the greater good for all there is no telling what we may achieve together. Maybe I'm just a dreamer : )