Arts, Religion and the New Social Order: Emerging Trends in Mediation in an Age of Globalization
AbstractThe relationship between arts and religion as culturally interactive phenomena may not be strange, but the dimensions of synergy are complex and increasingly so in an age of globalization where art has evolved from its basic visual, literary and performative formalisms to a sophisticated institution supported by a network of media that traverse time and space. Similarly, religion has metamorphosed from the popular Marxist perception as “the opium of the people” to a multi-faceted institution, addressing not only the spiritual but also other wide-ranging social, political, cultural, economic and other needs. Supporting
movements have also emerged within religious systems to echo the advocacy for a new social order through transparency, accountability, religious and cultural harmony, health awareness and other issues. The interests, though divergent are meant to address common and practical societal needs. It would appear that religious institutions, in a bid to cover extended interests in newly defined territories now incorporate performance-enhancing elements from allied disciplines. This is particularly apparent in Nigeria, the location of this study where the major religions: Christianity, Islam and African Traditional Religion
employ visual, performing and media arts to reach expanding audiences. The thesis of this paper, therefore, is that the ability of religion to perform its newly assumed tasks effectively is dependent, among other things upon the mastery of applied elements of visual, performing and media arts as promotional tools in mediating a new social order.