Sociopolitical issues have long been a motivating force behind many artists. Frequently the leaders in movements of cultural reform, artists have used their work to bring attention to the problems facing their communities whether it be economical, environmental, or political. In the 60’s it was conceptual art, in the 80’s it was graffiti, and nowadays artists are using social media and copyright laws to further their creative agendas.
While it’s easy to focus on the exciting world of the international art market, let’s take a moment to look at a few creative initiatives around the world that are pushing for social change.
5. Tree-huggers paint trees to fight fracking
Blued Trees is an organization created by ecological artist Aviva Rahmani and a gang of New York activists that are seeking to use art copyright laws to prevent the expansion of the Spectra Energy Algonquin Incremental Market pipeline. If the artists can get the copyright for their trees approved, any destruction of the trees in the pipeline’s pathway would infringe on it’s moral rights. Click here to read more or donate to their campaign.
4. Moveable “stoop” gives a place to discuss gentrification
Artist Margo Elsayd recently launched The Mobile Community Stoop Project in Washington, D.C. in order to facilitate conversation in the community. As the city’s population increases, residents and business are being displaced. This project seeks to give residents a place to share their experiences and organize possible reform.
3. Sculptures bring attention to global climate change
The Totally Thames Festival in London commissioned artist Jason Decaires Taylor to create four horse sculptures on the bank of the Thames. The sculptures “drown” as water levels rise, creating a cautionary metaphor for rising sea levels and climate change.
2. Iranian artists open a makeshift “embassy” in Jerusalem
An Iranian organization, the Hamabul Art Collective, has gathered artists, activists, and curators to host an art exhibition in Jerusalem in an attempt to reconnect the conflicting countries. Israel and Iran have not had diplomatic or business ties since the Islamic Revolution in 1979 and the collective hopes that art and creativity can help heal the cultural rift.
1. #ArtHoe seeks to give proper representation to LGBT creatives
ArtHoe Collective seeks to promote the creative works of queer and trans people of color. Social media users submit their works with the hashtag #arthoe onto their original poetry, video, and photographs.
These are just a few examples of art aimed at social change, be sure to follow Art Report on social media to learn about more!