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Art Activism: The hopeful Meaning and Recent Examples

What is Art Activism?

Art activism is a form of protest in the form of art. Art activists use various forms of media, such as music, poetry, and painting to voice their dissent with society’s values. One example is the graffiti artist Banksy who uses his work to address themes such as war and capitalism.

Art activism person painting an art
Photo by ANTHONY SHKRABA production on

An emerging social movement

The use of art as a form of protest and political statement has been around for centuries, but it has recently gained steam thanks to the internet. This blog post will explore some recent examples of artists’ involvement with politics, what it means, and how you can get involved too!

Art Activism is one thing that always interests me because I think we often forget about all the other ways we can make changes. Sometimes this might be through art or just by being more active in our communities. I’m excited to share these ideas with you today and hope they inspire you as much as they have inspired me!

  • Art can be used as a medium for expression and conveying messages that cannot be voiced through other methods. This is especially true when it comes to controversial topics like gender identity or climate change.
  • Whatever your opinion on these topics may be, there are many ways you can take part in art activism, either by creating artwork yourself or supporting others working within this field!

Is Art Activism more than a form of expression

Art activism is creatively using art to change society and create social justice for all people. Activists use art to communicate their message, artists use it to express themselves, and students learn about the world around them.

A good artist knows that an artwork is not just a painting. It’s the way you can see the world and experience it.

Van Gogh

Can you find yourself in Art Activism

It’s a pretty safe bet that art will also be the place we find each other.

I’m not talking about your average run-of-the-mill stuff either; I’m talking about the kind of art that changes lives.

  • The kind of art that makes you want to get up off your chair and do something more than sitting around all day long in front of a computer screen or front of some canvas waiting for inspiration to come out when it damn well pleases.
  • Art activism is a performance that incorporates aspects of activism and art to create an interactive experience for the audience while addressing issues such as oppression, inequality, social justice, and cultural appropriation.

Recent Art Activism Examples

Some artists choose to make their artwork interactive by including viewers in the creative process or experience and mobilizing them into taking tangible actions for social change.

  • There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to art activism – its expression depends largely on who’s doing it and how they’re using their platform (whether through mainstream media outlets like CNN or local newspapers).
  • The work aims to generate discussion about these topics to allow people who are often silenced or marginalized by society’s institutions to speak their truths.
  • This process can help facilitate change by empowering individuals through self-expression and encouraging them to act against injustice in their own communities.

“I am not your toy”

“I am not your toy” was created by Coco Fusco with six performances at Defibrillator Gallery in NYC from September 16 – October 14.

  • There were six performances of “I am not your toy” at Defibrillator Gallery in New York City from September 16 to October 14.
  • The piece is a series of mixed media and performance art pieces aimed at highlighting the experiences of women, specifically Black and Brown women, who have been violated.
  • Coco Fusco presented these ideas by incorporating autobiographical elements into the piece and presenting herself as an artist whose creativity is being exploited.

“Caught up: Ritualizing Feminine Hygiene”

The performance took place at the Powerhouse Arena in Brooklyn, NY.

  • This piece was dedicated to the artist’s mother and her love of reading. In the spring of 2014, the creator made a vow to read one book per day for all 31 days of April.
  • One of the books that she read during this challenge was “Wild,” by Cheryl Strayed. She noticed herself becoming obsessed with menstruation and how it affected her life.
  • Once she realized this obsession, she began writing down all thoughts on menstruation until she had completed five pieces about her experience with periods.
  • These pieces were later compiled into “Caught up: Ritualizing Feminine Hygiene.”


Yony Leyser created “Pilgrimage.” The piece took place at The Greene Space in New York City, and it included two performances on October 29 and November 19.

  • This particular performance art was composed of dance sequences that were adapted to incorporate religious practices into them.
  • The dance sequence for this specific work consisted of three parts.
  • The first part focused on the transition from one gender to another, the second section looked at how transgender people are perceived, and the last section showed how religion impacts our daily lives and how it can be abused.


Sharmini Perera and Manish Vyas created it. This performance took place at the Queens Museum in New York City on September 24, 2014.

  • The concept of this collaboration was to create a series of paintings that would highlight different moments from Sita’s life and images typically seen in Indian art and tradition; however, they wanted these types of images to be portrayed in a new way.
  • With the help of an architect and several dancers from Sri Lanka, Sharmini Perera and Manish Vyas achieved their vision for this piece.


In conclusion, it is important to be aware of the power we as individuals have in shaping our world. Whether you are an artist or not, make sure that your voice and work reflect who you are and what matters most.

The art activism examples we’ve discussed should inspire us all to think about how we can use creativity for something more meaningful than just personal expression alone. If this sounds like a project worth pursuing then don’t hesitate to reach out!

Viable Outreach | Activism for the 99%