August 29, 2018 at 6:32 pm #6952brookestoufferParticipant
Art has existed alongside activism to express discontent with a state of affairs and fight to transform oppressive structures that act upon us in our society. From picket signs that outwardly express discontent to those in charge of changing an oppressive structure, to more hidden accounts of activism like in the Chilean arpilleras, art has been used to emphasize what words cannot and to give a voice to those who are voiceless.
In the classroom, we can encourage our students to use art as a way to express something they feel discontent with, whether in their own personal lives or a societal issue at large. When we teach art history to our students, we can include lessons on how art has been used in our history to make an impact for change. During these instructions we can ask students to make art similar to that fashion reflecting an act of unfairness or a change they would like to make. This can be done in a variety of mediums, from drawing to photography depending on the materials available in the classroom. After, we can have either a group or singular discussion about the topics that the students chose and why they’re passionate about them.August 30, 2018 at 2:43 pm #6956Maggie HigginsParticipant
I believe that activism goes hand in hand with art. Being an art educator I think it is important to educate students on the power that their art has and how to harness that power in a respectful and effective way. I think that allowing students to create a project that emphasizes something they feel strongly about whether it is a rule they want dis-enforced at home, or a snack they want available in the cafeteria, students can see how their art can influence viewers if it is done in a respectful way. I also think it is important to educate children on the power their art has and the importance of producing works that send the right message and also empowering students to use their voice through their creations.August 30, 2018 at 3:49 pm #6958Lacie SoltParticipant
I personally feel that art has the power to change the world. Activism and speaking out through the means of art making and art practices has been something that’s been done so many times throughout the years. Some artists and activists use their art as their act of change, a way of starting a conversation. It’s important that artists are using their voice to express through their art because in visual culture, your artsy people or non artsy people get to see the problems and injustice whether it’s a sticker, t-shirt, flyer, etc. To encourage art regarding activism and opinions being expressed in the classroom, it’s essential to set up an inclusive and judgement-free classroom. Students need to know that what they believe or what they need to speak up about or express through their work always matters whether it be an unpopular opinion or not.April 14, 2019 at 2:23 pm #7352Andrea T.Participant
Yes. There are many art history as well as contemporary examples of art helping to transform existing oppressive structures. In the classroom, using these examples as a jumping-off-point for open dialogue, and inspiration for art-making help encourage students to make their own art in the classroom which challenges and transforms oppressive structures. When students are reassured that the classroom is a safe space to express themselves, and be heard out, they are more likely to create open, honest artwork in response to prompts encouraging this type of expression.
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