Freedom of expression is a controversial right of art that has been witnessing activation of divisive debate, since its existence for as long as humankind, about the duty of an artist to strike the fine tune of balance between regarding and questioning sensibilities of society.
However, when ‘curtailing artistic freedom of expression’ is in question, the two feasible factors that cross one’s mind is:
- ‘Censorship according to the law’
Talking about lawful censorship, the only possible legal restrictions that can be comprehended with are laws which prevent exercising of that which might impinge on someone else’s fundamental right and those which criminalize child pornography. All other content, including pornographic pattern, must be legal given that the persons appearing are all consenting adults.
- ‘Social boycott of art’
Social censorship is far more convoluted.
The creation of complexity of ways in which society controls expression is the result of the toxic influences in arts through censorship and self-censorship, like – violent public reaction, police intervention, managing pluralism and the impact of risk aversion.
Art, particularly visual art, is always going to attract different reactions. The keepers of a certain gallery, in their judgment, might find a particular art offensive and decide not to put it on exhibition fearing lapse of reactions from its audience. But then some might not think there’s anything wrong in a photo that depicts a young woman wearing a transparent dress where her mamilla is visible – depicting the saintliness of puberty.
Hence, the single way to determine what could be reckoned as “too non-sacred”, or “too offensive” is as limited as an all-in-all common reaction to a particular art. The only thing that would be reasonable in curtailing of artistic expression would be art that injured the subjects’ morality and existence in any form; during its creation. There is no validation in the artistic expression of a child being raped and photographed or an animal being brutally killed for the same which countermands the torment of the subject.
Under other circumstances, even if the outcome of an art is not of much virtue, artists require quite broad reasons to create violent collisions.