I always believe that art if primarily about self-expression. Artists have to have a strong feeling about something to try and give it a form so that they and other people can come to terms with it. Then that piece of art might ignite certain feelings in others as well, because there will always be people in society who feel exactly the same way but cannot express it by themselves and when others will identify with a particular artist, they can draw encouragement, inspiration and a sense of purpose about a particular subject and in that way, art can be used indirectly to bring about any change in the sensibilities of others.
Art enables people to look a little closer at social issues, at other people, the everyday objects and the life forms around them. In a way, art helps people to see what is already there but not easily perceived. The artist brings out which cannot be see or felt easily. An artist can cause people to re-examine their thinking on the subject that's put in front of them. That said, I do believe that art alone cannot bring about any major change. At best, it can ignite certain feelings and emotions in others, and then collectively with the help of other major institutions can we move towards any kind of social change.
But independently it shouldn't be an artist's purpose or duty to think about any social change. An artist should primarily focus on addressing subjects, issues and personal sensibilities to further express himself/herself as freely and truthfully as he/she can. I strongly believe that art is not just about entertainment and fun, there has to be deeper layer to it. And it's only in that way can we attain the real purpose of art - to go beyond the known into the realms of the unknown and create something of value from that terrain of unknown.
From ages, Art has always played a vital role in the upliftment of the collective consciousness of any society.
What do you think? I would love to hear it from you guys as well!