Monday, March 26, 2007

Art for Change

It's no longer a hurried, tunnel vision walk through the lower level of the UC building. Now, vibrant colors and images pop out at passersby to capture their attention and slow their pace. On the walls, big white sheets of paper serve as the canvas for the second level painting and drawing classes taught by Visual Arts Assistant Professors Eric Hongisto and Sharon Siskin. The major attraction seems to be the two biggest canvases that deal with politics and consumerism/greed, but the others, which have no theme, are also worth looking at. Sarina Dean, a senior fine arts minor who is painting flowers on one of the smaller pieces, said she started with one flower on the canvas and others followed suit, contributing another flower with petals falling off and writing, "I love to watch you fall apart".

It's a collaborative endeavor for these art students who are using their creativity to fashion images that evoke our spirits, whether it's the army tank running over babies or the words, "These colors don't run. But they bleed." Long has art been used as a means to garner attention to social and political issues. This can be seen in ArtPolitic, where artists have banded together to "promote thought, interest, and passion" for a variety of issues. According to their manifesto, they "seek to inform others and incite change." Another group that uses art for social and political issues is the non profit organization Wise Fools Community Arts, which uses a combination of giant puppetry, wild costumes, music, and theatre “as vehicles for community building, self-determination, social and political change.”

Senior Meiko Kikuta, a psychology and fine arts double major, said that, at first, she didn't like the concept of the project, but after seeing everything put together she has grown to like it. She has painted a gun with a gold chain surrounding it which she says symbolizes the misuse of people in power. She points out that the chain that is controlling the gun is gold which signifies money. With their red plastic cups serving as makeshift palettes and their paint brushes armed at the ready, these students are creating activated art and following in the footsteps of those that used art for change.

No comments: