Resistance is necessary to combat the normalizing of hate. Everyday acts of intolerance should not be ignored. Being silent and pacifying equals acceptance. Artists have the responsibility to speak out. Not doing so, enforces alternative realities furthering the gap between economic and social divides. Pretty pictures distract and fail to highlight truths.
Protest and resistance art has a long and complicated history exploring inequality, politics, and humanity. In 1937, Pablo Picasso painted Guernica depicting the horrors of war. Picasso: “My whole life as an artist has been nothing more than a continuous struggle against reaction and the death of art. In the picture I am painting — which I shall call Guernica — I am expressing my horror of the military caste which is now plundering Spain into an ocean of misery and death.”
Inspired by current events, I explored how Lady Justice is a symbol of impartiality in our American judicial system. Standing stoically with a scale in one hand and a sword in the other, she is blindfolded representing that power, status, or money have no influence. As a result, I repurposed a standard braille sign altering its function. The art would serve as a marker questioning how special interests have weakened the fundamental principles of democracy. Citizens must not blinding follow but question, organize, and demand the highest standards preserving truth and justice.
Resistance appears in many forms. Protestant pastor Martin Niemöller spoke out against Adolf Hitler and spent time in concentration camps during World War II. Niemöller‘s words from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Art must reflect our human condition: the good and the bad. It should be honest not filtered, safe, or comfortable. Small acts of artistic resistance elevate not alienate. The time to create is now…