We want to devote this article to the power of art as a means of solving issues related to social justice. We have already talked about activist artists more than once in our publications, but today we would like to return to this topic once again. By blending the power of art with the energy and enthusiasm of young people, activist artists will highlight issues and create a form of political activism that ultimately gives a very loud voice to young people and otherwise marginalized communities.
If social justice is a way of thinking about the world and discussing its many shortcomings and problems, then political and protest art is a way of interpreting these thoughts and bringing them to the attention of the public. Thus, art is clearly a powerful political tool.
There was a clear example of this when UN officials in New York covered a copy of Picasso’s famous anti-war mural “Guernica” during US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s February 2003 presentation of the American case for a war against Iraq.
Many contemporary activist artists are commenting on the inequalities of our time through exhibitions, performances, websites, publications, and more. By presenting their work to the public in this way, they draw attention to issues of local, national or international concern.
Street artists want their work to be visible to the public in public spaces, whether it be a mural or a performance. Stencil artists like Banksy use images with text to create a dialogue between the artwork and the audience.
Other activist artists, such as those in Egypt, Palestine, and Syria, are risking their lives to challenge injustice and get their message out to the public. This makes art a form of political activity.
Most artworks are made from materials that live long after the exhibition, performance, or event. The works of protest or political art are like a memory that is left behind. They have their own way of keeping a message alive and in the minds of those who have seen or experienced it.
This is extremely important when we use art to represent issues of social justice.