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I believe that as artists, we need to be aware of how our work will be viewed and understood by others. An artist may create something, with no intentions of activism behind it, however it may be perceived that way – or even vice versa. In class, Karen discussed the power behind Chilean arpilleras. The Chilean women sewed scraps of fabric onto burlap sacks into a visual code to communicate what was happening in their country. Eventually, others caught on to the wrong doings which pressured and led to reform of the Chilean government.
Through this example, I believe that activism is a branch of power. There are many times consequences to power (whether good or bad) and I believe that power and activism should be encouraged in the class room so students may learn how to effectively use both. These women were brave enough to create something in hopes to help their loved ones, and it worked. I think it’s important for students to hear stories like this inside and outside of the classroom. It will encourage them to realize that they have voices that can be heard and that they can make a difference in life.
By giving students examples of activism such as this one and then prompting them with questions, they can begin to understand the concept a little better. Questions to propose to students could be: when have you felt discriminated against, or oppressed by someone or something? What would you do to fix it? Can you create something that would give others hope when put in that situation, or can you create something that will bring awareness to others about that situation? Keywords for inspiration for their creations would be: equality, kindness, right, respect, justice, tolerance, morality.