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Art and the Characteristics of Social Identity

            The issue of Identity is a complex one. Identity consists of innumerable defining characters that make up the whole of who we are in any given moment. These fragments of self-include our sexuality, gender and sense of belonging to a particular culture, nation, religion or family. It also includes our looks, personality, beliefs and fears and is "an unfolding storycontinuing recast in the course of experience." (Sennett, 2000: 176-177). Identity can also be influenced by the work we do, our education, the car we drive, the home we live in and the clothes we wear. Identity is also determined by perspective. Our self-image can be entirely different to the way we are seen by a colleague, partner, friend or parent who all have their own lens of perception through which they view us.
             One definition of identity is the persona we project out into the world. It is suggested that we don't have much control over our identity creation as we think, as today more than ever we are being increasingly influenced and bombarded by a multitude of messages and experiences about who to be and how to be. Current forms of social communication processes, particularly mainstream media, advertising, television and film, along with family, friend, teachers, our perceptions, perspectives, interpretations and assumptions, and those of others, all play a part in creating identity.
             The question I need to ask is: How do Artists explore the characteristics that determine our social identity. How they construct a sense of who we are as a society or as a nation. How they explore and attributes such as gender, sexuality, race, nationality and heritage. The communication they use to interpret the cultural artistic and social endeavour such as technology, politics, style, music, performance and the arts.
             Art explores many elements of life and the world. It explores and represents meanings in which are interpreted by the audience in various ways.

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