Activist Art

OK, no postings for a while because I have not been in the studio making more art.

Instead, I have been doing other things like going to a conference on activism and civil society in Turkey sponsored by a European Union program callled “Sivil Düşün” (“Think Civilly”), where I learned a lot, met some great people, and also gave a workshop on how NGOs can use visual art and design to reach their goals. Now, I’m getting ready to exhibit the “Ottoman Princesses” in Istanbul – “inşallah” (god willing…and the creek don’t rise)…

About all I’ve had time to do “in the studio” lately were a couple of cards for a mail art exhibit called “Maculine Violence” (just click here for the link to a facebook page on the exhibition). If you can imagine what these 2 images look like superimposed together then you’ll know what 1 of my postcards looked like (forgot to take a pic myself) – 1st image is a photo of “refugees at an unofficial camp” outside Izmir (went up there with an NGO from Bodrum last Sunday, the photo is actually not mine, but one taken with my camera by one of the other kids in the camp), and the 2nd image is obvious.

Now, before I go back to tidying up the “Princesses” for their still uncertain journey to Istanbul, I wanted to post this link to a truly brilliant bit of “Activist Art” that I came across thanks to Facebook (it does do good, sometimes).

It’s – for “CAPTURED: People in Prison Drawing People Who Should Be.  To quote the artists Jeff Greenspan and Andrew Tider:

“Corporations frequently commit crimes any average person would be imprisoned for. These corporate crimes devastate our environment, economy and society, yet the companies committing them often get away with only paying a settlement. These payouts do little damage to a corporation’s bottom line and are practically baked into their budgets. The cost of doing business.

CAPTURED shines a light on these crimes masquerading as commerce. Through the use of art made by people in prison, this project imagines the highest levels of corporate leadership being personally responsible for their companies’ illegal actions.

The artistry displayed within this project may help viewers see the incarcerated as more than one-dimensional criminals and remind them a prisoner is also a person. They may also remind us a corporation is not a person. A corporation has no conscience. It cannot repent or truly pay for its crimes.

As consumers, we can say there are injustices we are not willing to tolerate. By not supporting companies endangering our health and freedom, and by questioning a system that wields punishment so unevenly, we can stop being mute witnesses.”

If you click on the link you’ll find beautiful portraits of the CEOs of Wall Mart, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Exxon Mobil and everybody’s favorite, Monsanto, to name just a few, along with information about the corporations they head. The artists have also put together a book (sold out, but you can place an order which they will fulfill if they get enough requests to do another print run), profits from which they’re donating to Bernie Sanders’ campaign for president.

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