Art Speaks No Words...Just Screams at Eyes

How important is an image these days? In speaking to volumes of people, the image is irreplaceable. It can unify and inspire, acting as a symbol. It can turn political tides and reveal scandal and strife.

The line between art and advertising has blurred, however, as the image has become a crux in both the presentation of creative expression and ever-malleable fabric of public opinion. A crucial event that can encompass several arguments in the arena is the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East, and one particular incident where the power of image was irrefutably unleashed.

A giant fiasco uncorked itself when a Dutch newspaper published cartoons of the prophet Mohammed. Blasphemous even in its attempt at representation, the cartoons did no favors with the critical and arguably vicious portrayal of Islam.

Obviously, the image has power... riots and protests worldwide proved the strength of the reaction. But, simply put, the image was art. Cartooning is historically satirical, yes, but a legitimate art form. It was not meant to gain the newspaper any further exposure past sales copy, although the notoriety the publication has now gained has raised awareness at the poor choice of target of the spoof. It was not meant to advertise a cause, although I would bet the cartoonists don’t plan to tout the pieces as highlights of their portfolios.

The outrage and violence spawned by the art pieces will inevitably be discussed in their validity, approach and purpose. But an undeniable fact to come from the drawings is the power of the image itself. For no where else does a simple illustration move the minds of millions at once, confirming the artful power of the pen may be more powerful than the sword.


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