CreativeResistance.org, a project of PopularResistance.org, launched this week. If you love art, music and poetry and appreciate the work of activist artists; if you grapple with the challenges of societal injustice and environmental destruction and you respond with creativity and imagination, this site has been created for you.
The images, music and poetry on CreativeResistance.org are art with a message and a point of view. The human bent toward storytelling, metaphor and illustration is given voice as paint and papier-mâché, guitar and song. Activist art answers back to the oppression and abuse we want to bring to an end.
This is our commons, this realm of creative thought and action, and CreativeResistance.org is a town square. It’s a place where grassroots activists and established artists alike display their work. You’ll see pictures of giant puppets, videos of music and theater, colorful protest signs and skillfully executed visual art, all with links to artists’ websites and action campaigns. A map helps you find art groups near you, and a news page reports on activist artists and their projects.
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Artists keep creating, building, moving messages into the world’s consciousness, and the art can take on a life of its own. It evolves, generates energy, coaxes its way into people’s hearts, and sometimes grows legs and goes to unexpected places. CreativeResistance.org is a wealth of inspiration, connection, collaboration and community for activist artists, and it can also be a source of illustrations for journalists, educators and presenters, music for event planners, new art for curators, grantees for philanthropists.
The world of activist art-making is more vibrant and dynamic than it has ever been. Art throughout history has contributed to social movements, but nothing can compare to our capability for disseminating images and ideas with the powerful reach of current technology. The Internet has put reporting into the hands of the people, and art in every medium, both traditional and digital, is easily and continually spread.
Art breeds more art, and cross-pollination erupts in a volcano of inspiration. You are invited to participate in this upwelling of art activism. There has never been a more exciting time to do this work. All across the globe people are coming into the street as the shivers of collapsing systems rattle our communities. The mainstream media mostly ignores what will in hindsight be seen as a worldwide revolt against oppression, but we know it’s happening because we are participants and architects, creating in the midst of destruction.
The nonverbal emotional messages embedded in symbols, color, melody and rhythm, are intuitively received. Creativity is outside of control and “dangerous.” The act of creating is subversive when multinational corporations assert that profit is the supreme and most desirable value.
When we take the time to paint an artistic banner, write a song, or build a puppet, we are demonstrating that “people care about this issue,” people with imagination, intention and skill; people who know how to work together. Joyfulness radiates from the process of collaborative creation, and that’s attractive.
When we bring our various flavors of human creative expression into the street, or into the halls of power, we increase the possibility of reaching and moving a spectrum of people. Humor can open doors, an illustration can bring grief or fear to light, a graphic depiction can communicate a “big picture” message with just a glance.
Art is good for our communities, and artistic collaboration is a bonding experience. We make art together, not just because of the changes it can bring to the world around us, but because of the way it changes us internally. It’s soothing to the weary, meeting-worn activist to settle down, paint brush in hand, and contribute in a tangible way to a finished piece that will be bigger and more effective than anything that could be made alone.
We have always written on walls, since first we were human. We have always made marks with pigment, moved objects and watched them change as our hands applied pressure, bent, wove, sewed. Human culture, our bundled conventions, expectations, habits, and things we know or think we know, is cracked and broken, healed, fed and formed as this activist art revolution reaches beyond the perceived horizon. The emotions engendered when we launch ourselves across boundaries strewing armloads of color, scattering unruly flocks of words and sounds, spark connections and groove new neural pathways which may lead through and past the confines of this growth-drunk culture, into a place of integrity.
Now still, we gather and weave, uniting disparate elements of our life experience into the holistic: community, friendship, collaboration, solidarity, a people-powered movement.