Social realism refers to an artistic movement that is expressed in the visual and other realistic arts, and they serve to depict the social and the racial injustices and mistreatments, and economic hardships that people are undergoing in various standards of life. This is depicted by the unembellished pictures of struggles on life, and most often depicts working class activities as heroic. This movement is actually a style of painting which carries scenes that typically convey a message of social, racial or a political protest that is often edged with spoof. Many people would express their cry as a result of injustices that they are getting, and that the result of the injustices is due to the difference in the human hierarchy that exists as a result of different working classes (Lowder and Silverton 69-70).
Socialist realism refers to a style of realistic art that developed under socialism in the Soviet Union and thereafter took up the communist countries. It has a goal of furthering socialism and communism. Socialist realism is also said to be a Soviet artistic doctrine which has the purpose of furthering the objective of socialism and communism among various nations. We can therefore say that social realism is an artistic movement that depicts various kinds of injustices that the people are undergoing, while socialist realism refers to an official USSR art form that is teleological-oriented style of art which serves to promote socialism and communism.
It was as a result of desperate economic and social conditions that artists took to the need of expressing the plight and disillusionment of many laborers and individuals through the skill of art. Social realism aimed at changing the society through its work of art that depicted people’s sufferings. It describes the specific stylistic approach and an overall attitude towards poverty and pain caused by social, racial and the economic injustices (Ungar 45-49). It stressed the not lovely, or rather not pleasing part of human life with an aim of showing the evils or vices in the society as poverty, immorality and war. The styles of artistry were to express the people, their problems and the time that they are living in. It developed with an aim to combat idealism and the exaggerated ego that was being encouraged by the romantics. There was the clarity of the consequences of the industrial revolution in that there was the growth of the urban centers together with the establishment of the slums. This was contrary to the nature of the life that the people in the upper class were living in. being driven by the new sense of social consciousness; there was a vital need to develop a style of art that will appeal to an eye or elicit some emotions among fellow human beings. The ugly realities of human contemporary life were demonstrated with great pity over the poor people in the society (Ungar 45-49). There was thus a record of what was seen in a dispassionate manner that would find people not knowing what to do. The artists who took part in the start of the social realism were William Hogarth, Francisco de Goya and Honor Daumier.
Socialist realism demanded that all art must show some aspect of struggles of man towards the socialist progress for a better life. It emphasized on the need for the artists to be realistic, optimistic and heroic in its service of the proletariat. The main aim of the socialist realism is to follow the great tradition of the 19th century by purposing to be the real mirror of life. It also aims at the building of socialism and a classless society. There is a great need to develop a hero who is persevering to all odds or handicaps. It also helps in the molding of the consciousness of the masses who could be inventors, engineers or even scientists.
The other main purpose is the education in the spirit of socialism. The individuals have to strictly adhere to the doctrines and the conventional techniques of realism. However, socialist realism has been condemned as it stifles artistic values. With socialist realism, all the goods and means of production belong to the community as a whole, for instance the techniques and methodologies of producing art materials which were always perceived to be powerful tools of propaganda. In the United States of America, the government used art to sell its political programs. There was the president’s concern to help those who were in need, a program that made use of painters who were referred to as the social realists (Aleksandrovich, Dobrenko and Savage 12-14).
The Chicano art refers to a Mexican American movement that they used in order to achieve social justice in America. It was the tool that the Mexican Americans had to use with an aim of influencing the American government in order to bring national attention to their demands for power, national equality and the educational reforms. This was done through mural paintings and postal makings which were the only and efficient ways of disseminating critical information to the masses. Here we see that there was the use of the concept of socialistic realism. Art was being integrated with politics, an issue that helped in the growth of the Chicano movement (Ungar 45-49).
The Chicano community sought to demonstrate pride, cultural identity and their aesthetic beauty through their art. The various needs of the Chicano community were thus expressed at large. Here, there was the use of the concept of social realism. The individuals were able to let their requests and pleas be listened to and ultimately solved. It is through the use of art that there was communication between the Mexicans and the American government.
In conclusion, there was great and significant use of the art movements by various communities and governments to express or deliver particular vital information. Chicano works of art has captured and made use of the art technique and has been able to achieve the desired need and intention. It is therefore through the Chicano works of art that the art movements; social realism and socialist realism have been able to be successful.