Why Would Art Need Awards?

Why would art need awards? I have been wondering for a very long time why there can be such a thing as an award or even a prize for something supposedly subjective rather than objective. Yet before we can discuss this topic, we need a definition of the word at the heart of it all: ‘art’. What, exactly, is art? I wish the term to be understood as follows:

1 [MASS NOUN] The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power:


2 (the arts) The various branches of creative activity, such as painting, music, literature, and dance:

(my emphasis)

Everywhere you look you will find a plethora of competitions for awards and prizes relating to any of the arts, including music and literature, my personal favourites and the only arts I practise. You can, for instance, enter a competition of poetry which offers a prize for 1,000 €/$/£/etc. But how, I wonder, can you judge whose self-expression is superior? Why would one poem deserve an award and a monetary prize coming with it more than another? I have always maintained the opinion that art ought to be non-commercial. Yet here we are, purchasing and selling paintings, sculptures, music, literature, and so forth. Does everything have to be a competition, or is it rather the socio-economic principles of our society that make us think so?
Neither do I understand how you can produce art on demand. Entering a poetry competition usually requires you to hand in a poem not previously published, and more often than not you need to write about a specific, given topic. I have been asked on several occasions to write a poem for specific events or even love poems for specific people, often enough offering substantial payment, but I could never come up with anything, since this is not how I practise poetry. Poetry just enters my mind, it usually begins with a word or phrase or line, and then I continue from there. Tell me to write about any topic, and my mind will remain blank as to it. Furthermore, I could never write a love poem for someone whom I do not love myself, especially if the person asking me to do this intends to pretend the poem to be theirs. How it can be considered love to impress someone by means of pretending to have created something for them which in truth someone else has created is beyond me, anyway.
There is always the possibility that I am wrong and everyone else is right, of course. What do you think?


4 thoughts on “Why Would Art Need Awards?

  1. I agree entirely. Yet we might think different as soon as we are awarded any prize (theoretically I mean). As early as in antiquity, there was a custom called ‘poeta laureatus’. Being crowned with a laurel wreath seems more stylish—but isn’t it the same in essence?

    • I, for one, should not even want to be nominated for an award or a prize. I do not wish my poetry or music to be valued against other people’s art, regardless of the result.
      Yes, it appears to be at the heart of our culture to measure everything in terms of competition. Even the manner in which you tell someone that you love them may be measured against other people’s fashion of doing so. Mayhap this is the reason for which it is uttered so often in such trivial contexts in which it does not mean anything at all. Considering this, I feel sad – lost.

    • A writer composes poetry in order to live; a poet lives in order to compose. The former loves the recognition; the latter is in love with the universe. One can choose to become a writer; one is born to be a poet.

    • I agree with u my friend!

      No-one likes their babies to be compared or exchanged with rewards!

      I must say; I ve seen here , many people write on the top “poetry is the only thing I can do”
      so! everyone has needs that should be completed for the sake of livings!

      And must try too earn, sell, accept as per rules of human needs and the planet.

      I am not just talking abt awards in wp. also all competitions and awards worldwide.

      have a gr8 day ahead!

      Love from Nepal

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