recap | artivism: the art of social justice

favianna rodriguez, chuck d, gina belafonte and yosi sergant led the artivism: the art of of social justice panel on sunday night during the 9-day into action pop-up exhibition at zynderia studios. moderated by eleuthera lisch and llana ludovico, the 90-minute conversation focused on the integral role of art in periods of societal distress and upheaval. 

the lack of funding for school art programs was a major area of concern, one seen as hindering the progress of humanity and shaping a stunted future for the nation. budget cuts say sayonara to art programs first, which in turn creates a smaller number of future artists. Artists have been notable for exposing the torments and truths of the world long before the masses have found words to communicate any problems. artists are our hope in demanding answers and holding anyone/anything accountable. 

culture and race were also major topics tied to the education system, which has a history of not providing programs for those of color. 

“4 out of 5 working artists are white… in other words it is a privilege to be an artist and this is dangerous,” Rodriguez said.

This ratio is not reflective of society itself, which means integral stories are getting lost. as of now, the experiences that survive and carry on will be predominantly from the perspective of someone who is white, because they have had the opportunities and tools to put their art into the world. This leaves many gaps and silenced voices in the fabric of our history, as well as having the capacity to inaccurately influence the governmental landscape at present.

“We live in a world where we can’t talk about our truth or our narratives and that in turn impacts policy--40 years after roe v. wade, I’m still fighting for a right over my body,” Rodriquez said. 

the panel encouraged everyone to speak up and speak out, and to use all that was in their power to bring their work into the world, as it has the ability of generating a tremendous impact in the lives of those around them.

words by carter