As we mentioned in our previous article, art has always been at the service of society as an instrument of protest, influence and social and political action. It must have responsibility in circumstances that require it, positioning itself and interacting with citizens. We must make art a social construct.
Therefore, from Olga Guarch we have decided to continue dealing with the theme of art as protest, but this time, through events of the XXI century.
Let ‘s start!
- In 2011, Occupy Wall Street, New York, they used vindictive posters -purchased years later by MOMA-, to protest the 2011 global financial crisis and its terrible consequences. In addition, they also used illuminated signs, with which they projected the logos of powerful companies on famous buildings in New York City.
- During the same year, during the Arab uprisings in Egypt, urban artists shared through murals criticisms of the then regime, making nods to ancient Egyptian art.
This type of artistic reclamation is called “border art“, and is also visible in other parts of the world. For example, on the U.S. – Mexico border, walls have been decorated with denunciations and messages of hope for those trying to cross it, usually in the direction of the United States.
- Another wall where art has been used as a form of protest is the one separating Palestine from the West Bank. One of the most famous pieces of this wall is Banksy‘s, which generated great controversy due to the fact that it has become a kind of tourist attraction, profiting from the suffering of the Palestinian population.
- In 2020, the Guerrilla Girls collective, Chile, showed the powerful feminist art with the song “Un violador en tu camino”, by the group “Las tesis”, which went viral during the beginning of the same year. It even continues to be sung every 8M in many Spanish cities.
- During 2020 also, in Minneapolis and after the death of the African-American George Floyd, the streets were set on fire and the role of art was decisive during the different demands.
Although there are those who consider that they become museum pieces, as in the case of the first example on Occupy Wall Street, and lose political force. Even so, thanks to the power of social networks, the protest art generated by the Black Lives Matter movement will never stop spreading.
Be that as it may, art and protest will always be hand in hand, as they have been since their beginnings.
And art, if it is not useful for protest, what is it good for?