• Winter Topic: Art and Social Issues
    EAS recently posed the question: Should art address social and political issues? While we are eager to hear your opinion on the forum, there are a lot of artists in our community who are already answering that question through their practice. The works below are all pieces from our community that, in one way or another, make an argument about what the social and political role of art can or should be.

     

    Take a look, let us know if you agree with these selections, and nominate other pieces to be included in the gallery!

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    Toumas Koskialho | Tampere, Finland
    "In my artistic work I go deep into reality and try to figure out what is real and what only looks real. By using a camera as my tool I try to study my environments, people around me and myself. I will not reveal great truths, but tell little white lies of which behind each there’s a glimpse of something very real and delicate. For me, photography is never about capturing the perfect shot, but exactly the opposite."
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    LiuYi | Tianjin, China

    LiuYi

    contemporary media

    China

    Alejandro Morales | Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
    Living in what is considered the world's most dangerous city has created a unique visual vocabulary for Morales as well as a conceptual framework full of endemic violence and irony. It has also given him a need to spread the reality of his city and its inhabitants in an effort to make suspect the scenario as presented abroad.

    Alejandro Morales

    Connect the Dots!

    Digital

    2012

    Mexico

    Asma Ghanem | Ramallah, Palestine
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    Jonathan Doe | Amsterdam, Netherlands

    Jonathan Doe

    Art Unit #19: Land of the Free

    Mixed Media Sculpture

    2011

    Netherlands

    Chow Kimman | Guangzhou, China
    "As global warming becomes more and more serious, we will decide on what path to follow in the future. When the ocean rises, will we choose to adapt or leave?"

    Chow Kimman

    FUTURE LIFE

    Digital Printing

    2012

    China

    bianca | San Francisco, CA, USA

    Bianca

    Ivan Miranda

    Oil Paint

    United States

    Isha Bawiska | Mumbai, India

    Isha Bawiskar

    SPACE V

    Mixed media on Plywood

    India

    Sydney Lowe | Brooklyn, NY, USA

    Sydney Lowe

    Some called me an anomaly, oxymoron

    Digital Photography

    2012

    United States

    Will Wiebe | Middletown, CT

    Will Wiebe

    Digital Photograph

    United States

    Mahdi Barajethi | Ramallah, Palestine
    From our forum: "unerwa" offers an explicitly political piece of art. Literally, the relief bags full of flower and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) video present a political body in action (politics is present in the photograph). Figuratively, the interplay between the actual relief (the bags) and the promotion of the relief (the video) is also political: the promotion hangs above the ruffled and keeling bags of flour, draping them in color on an otherwise empty floor. This is a political argument, a critique of how a political body behaves. Mahdi very clearly wants to make this point, and does" - Jacob Canter

    Mahdi Braghithi

    unerwa

    2012

    Palestine

    Gregor Henderson | Glasgow, Scotland
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    Paul Anmy | Long Beach, California, USA
    "I feel that it is necessary for some artists to avoid directly dealing with real world issues. With my art practice, I try to focus on themes that evoke anti-depressant emotions rather than depicting the bleak, hopeless and painful."
    Rachel Peterson Schmerge | Portland, Oregon, USA
    "I create participatory objects and installations that often utilize humor and play as a way to question accepted hierarchies and social protocols, especially within the museum context. I am very interested in investigating the line between art and artifact, the literal and the conceptual, and domestic and institutional spaces."
    Maria Crean | Belfast, Northern Ireland
    "I choose to work in the medium of cross stitch to comment on our society in the 21st century, and also because I am very interested in women’s issues. Cross stitch is representative of domesticity and women’s work, as women were at one point required to posses such skills to acquire work and look after the needs of their family. I wish to give new life to the “kitsch” traditional samplers often seen in 19th and 20th century homes celebrating births and marriages."
    Nelmarie Du Preez | Pretoria, South Africa
    "I am an ‘archivist’. Whether it is collecting statistical data about current events and social trends, video clips, sounds and imagery, I tend to be obsessive about collecting the information. The materials and media I engage with also relate to archiving, such as photography, video and data visualization as well as computer coding. I view art making as a form of archiving itself which wants to keep record of memories, people and ideas so as to help us understand the world and ourselves better."
    • Even when you try not to show a raw, immediate real issue, you are political.
      An artist can't hide in a position that tries to 'evoke anti-depressant emotions rather than depicting the bleak, hopeless and painful.' What and artist should do is to give tools not to change the reality but no create new ways of interpretation.