The Role Of A Visual Artist In Our Politicized Times

I’ve always been apolitical. A Russian-Jewish refugee of the 1990’s and a long time citizen, I never participated in elections because I thought my voice in Democratic Massachusetts won’t really matter. I didn’t partake in endless social media discussions that drained one’s energy and led nowhere. Unfortunately, I was unable to participate in yesterday’s Women’s March in Boston.
However, I answered a public call and submitted a poster for the march, and it stirred something inside me. This something finally wants a voice because it’s had enough. It stayed silent when I was grabbed on subway trains in Paris while studying abroad. I didn’t have enough courage when I was harassed in the workplace. I put up with years of male voices directing my self-image and societal responsibilities. This election actually normalized all of these misogynist tendencies established centuries ago, and I can’t just stand by it anymore in 2017.
I cannot accept a president who prides himself on grabbing women, and who belittles them and discredits them as liars when they speak up about his endless indiscretions. Nor can I let my daughter believe that she won’t be taken seriously should she stands up against a man’s abuse. I want my sons to grow up knowing how to treat a woman as an equal, with respect, and I’m not just talking about flirtatious compliments.
In this day in age when images do truly speak louder than words, it’s my duty as an artist to use the visual language to resist sexism. There were so many incredible images submitted for the march: stunning work of mural artists, of video artists, graphic work that was simply captivating. Let’s keep this going.
Dear artists, it’s our time to pick an issue that speaks to us and truly dedicate ourselves. From climate change to LGBTQ rights, from racial profiling to immigration walls, let’s show them how we can stir up the crowds, how our work can get to the soul of these problems and direct them to forward-thinking resolutions. Let’s allow our long hidden inner voices of protest be heard not just in the White House, but around the world. I hope yesterday’s tremendous support from every major city on each continent gives us strength, hope and determination for this imminent fight for equality.

womens march

Poster designed for march

Author: Diana Stelin
Email: info@dianastelin.com
Author Bio: Diana Stelin is a professional artist, a proprietor of an award-winning teaching studio in Boston, MA and a mother of three.
Link to social media or website: http://www.dianastelin.com



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