The Ability of Art to Provoke Questions and Inspire the Search for Answers

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“Because it is Truth” This essay aims to discuss art’s ability to provoke questions and inspire the search for answers. Three main texts are used to support this claim, Dorothy Allison’s essay “This is Our World,” Susan Sontag’s essay “In Plato’s Cave,” and the documentary directed by Zana Briski, “Born into Brothels.” Dorothy Allison’s work is used as an example of using art to explore both ourselves and the world around us, particularly pieces of society that we often choose to ignore. “In Plato’s Cave” is referenced to provide a specific focus on photography and it’s ability to educate. “Born into Brothels” provides a children’s perspective that ties in the importance of both exploration and education with art. In her essay “This is Our World” Dorothy Allison advocates art’s ability to raise questions and inspire the search for answers. She says, “Art should provoke more questions than answers and, most of all, should make us think about what we rarely want to think about at all” (10). Through the search for answers that is inspired by art we are able to learn both about ourselves and about the world around us. In the vast world that we live in it is so easy to turn the other cheek to things that make us uncomfortable and pretend that they do not exist. But art forces us to look that source of discomfort directly in the eyes, whether it be something within us or something that exists on the other side of the world. In doing so we are able to gain understanding and empathy which is essential between humans. Allison encourages the use of art as a tool for teaching about things that normally go ignored saying, “I choose my subjects to force [my audience] to look at what they try so stubbornly to pretend is not happening at all, deliberately combining the horribly serious with the absurd or funny, because I know that if I am to reach my audience I must first
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