Purpose of the arts

Art and humanity

“Writing and performing an opera, creating any work of art in a world of violence and ease, hunger and obesity, could seem to be an act of private withdrawal. But art isn’t about itself, it’s about how men relate to the world and each other … Asking artists to keep politics out of art is sensible as asking men to keep politics out of society.  An artist doesn’t dig down into his private ego, he relates his ego to society in a way which enables his audience to recognise a common, shared humanity.”

Hans Werner & and Edward Bond, in a program note from to the opera We Come to the River.

Cited in: Norris, Chistopher (ed.) (1982) Shostakovich the Man. London: Lawrence and Wishart, p. 224.