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Art And Social Justice

We mostly think about art as a leisure activity. Whether it’s painting in your garage, crocheting on your couch, or strolling around a museum, we don’t often associate art with its political, cultural, or social justice value. But art doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and it’s often inspired or spawned by the climate in which it’s created. And in some cases, art is created for the specific reason of bringing an issue to light.

Art as a Spotlight 

The most common function of art in the sphere of social justice is as a spotlight for issues. We as humans are incredibly empathetic creatures, but it can be hard to feel empathy about a situation that we weren’t directly present for or that didn’t directly affect our social circle.

Art helps bridge those gaps, conveying emotions and concepts that otherwise might go unnoticed by the general public. This helps issues come to the forefront and stimulates emotions that can drive important change.

Art as an Amplifier

Another really important function of art for social justice is providing a mouthpiece for those most affected by these issues. While a speech might not reach as many people as one would like, a painting, song or poem has much more mobility in terms of being shared and allowing people to relate to its content.

Empathy is one of the most powerful drivers of change, and art can allow affected persons to relay their stories to the masses and lay bare the reality of their experiences in a way that others can relate to.

Styles of Art for Social Justice Purposes

While many believe that the best type of art for social justice is realism, which is a style that definitely has its place, any type of art can be used towards these purposes. Whether it’s photography, sculpture, abstract painting, poetry, or any other medium that you can think of, each type of art has something to give to the social justice movement. You just have to find the right subject.