Art Censorship Essay, Research Paper
Do’s and Don’ts
Originally, when the question of art censorship was first addressed I was quite ambivalent about my position. I felt indecisive because on one hand I feel that there should be freedom of speech yet, on the other hand I’m against promoting anti- Semitism. I felt torn between two worlds. Then I began to contemplate; artists, especially controver-sial artists, are frequently susceptible to manipulation and censorship. Sometimes the ac-tion is overt and at other times it is quite subtle. Artists are often asked to change parts of their works to conform to the morality level of the public. Some people might find Chris Ofilli, who is a controversial but award-winning artist, work fascinating yet, I find it rather distasteful. If we begin to limit the imagination and take away every form of ex-pression, what will be left?
As well as a place of learning an educational institution’s purpose is to generate and promote discussion. When the New Age racist, David Icke, wanted to speak at the University of Toronto the Canadian Jewish Congress was upset that an anti-Semite would be permitted to address the student population. However, the University’s president, Dr. Prichard, argued that the University was a place that all learning avenues should be ex-plored. Within the framework of the University students would learn to discern right from wrong under the guidance of the University faculty. I agree with President Prichard be-cause freedom of speech is one of our basic rights in Canada and it should be protected at all costs.
Once something creates a lot of controversy or is deemed inappropriate it is a per-fect occasion to have a discussion. People who harbor certain ideas that can be construed as offensive can listen to others speak their mind on the subject of why they found something abhorrent. Promoting discussion allows people to open their minds to new ideas. Teachers can also explain to the students why something is considered offensive. With everything under scrutiny and with the guidance of teachers hopefully they can lead their students in the right direction. If the students don’t see offensive works of art in the hallways of CHAT surely they will see it in public places. We cannot remain sheltered forever and the time will come when we won’t have someone to guide us in the right di-rection. If we teach the children at an early age to discern between right and wrong hope-fully as adults they will have the capacity to make appropriate decision.
It is also very important for teachers to encourage the use of a child’s imagination. When I was in grade two we were assigned a dinosaur project for which we to construct the dinosaur of our choice out of plastacine in our preferred colour. To this day I still re-member nagging the teacher, asking her what colour I should use. Trust me, many other little voices were echoing the identical question. She tried to explain to the class that we could pick any colour that we wanted and that we should use our imagination to try and hypothesize the colour of the dinosaurs millions of years ago. I think it was Picasso who once said, “It took me my whole life to paint like a child”. One should never limit the capability of the human imagination.
I feel that there should be no censorship in the schools as long as the school pro-motes discussion about anything that offends people.
On the other hand, in the park, if there are uncensored or offensive displays there may be no opportunity to promote learning and discussions. We can’t control who goes in and out of the park because it is a public place therefore; there should be more rules and regulations.
The following should not be allowed in the park or anywhere for that matter with-out discussion:
+ sexually explicit pictures or words, that degrades men, women, children, or animals
+ Forms of expression that degrade people of any ethnic group or religion should not be allowed for viewing in the park.
In summary, nothing is black and white there are always exceptions to the rule. Appro-priate measures should be taken, by the school system, so that children are well informed of what surrounds them and to ensure exposure to both sides of an issue at an early age. Hopefully this will enable adults to make wise decisions when faced with these contro-versial subjects in the future.