Artistic activism is a dynamic practice which wields the creative power of artists to move us emotionally, coupled with strategic planning activism, artistic activism is central in bringing about necessary social change.
Activism as the name implies describes the activity of challenging and changing power relations: the goal of activism is action to create. On the other hand, art is a reflection of our society in a subtle way, it has the power to make a message something accessible and universal. Good art contains a message, something we can’t explain but that moves us nonetheless, while activism moves the material world, art moves the soul. All worthwhile activism contains creativity and uses culture.
Art and activism have different places in the world, however both, at their core, are a reflection of our beliefs and help send powerful messages in different ways.
Over the last 100 years, artists have been outspoken protesters on issues from feminism to equal-pay and anti-racism. Throughout history, artists have reacted against oppression, violence, injustice, and inequalities. Artistic Activism is not new, from the mid-1950s to the early 1970s the Civil Rights movement involved tens of thousands of people and changed civil rights for millions.
The Civil Rights Movement trained a generation of activists about the power of the image and the idea that aesthetics creativity was an integral part of protest politics. Often images speak louder than words, for example, Jacob Lawrence, an American painter known for his portrayal of African-American historical and contemporary life, captured the journey of millions of African- Americans who left the Jim Crow South in search of better lives elsewhere.
“The Migration Series” convey metaphors of injustice, strife, change, hope, and beauty. The paintings reflect the turmoil and moments of violence during the Great Migration. The Great Migration sometimes referred as the Black Migration took place after Jim Crow threatened African-American lives and equalities in the south.
To develop a powerful message, creativity and culture are essentials. In this way, artistic activism creates an opportunity for hearts to be touched, and minds to be reached, and change to be made.