Monday, April 22, 2013

My Art, My Activism

“My art is my activism. There is no separation.” ~ Dr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler

I first saw this quote at Flyover Feminism on April 5, and it’s been stewing in my brain ever since.

What does it mean to combine my activism and artistic endeavors?

The short answer is to write (or paint or draw or dance or sing, etc…) about the issues that make you hot, that get your blood sizzling. Those issues you see affecting good people every day. Those issues that just need to go away for good.

But, as with most things, it goes deeper.

It isn’t enough to artistically criticize the sexism and objectification that frustrates you only to utilize a racist trope in an attempt to make the point. Or spend an entire manuscript growling about discrimination only to use words that marginalize individuals with mental illness.

Doing these things unintentionally doesn’t automatically make you a horrible person, but that’s where ownership and responsibility come into play. Every artistic brain child has a growth phase, and it’s the responsibility of the artist to raise that fledgling into the best it can be.

This calls for vigilance.

It calls for setting the boundaries necessary to make your art represent the things in which you believe.

And it calls for enforcing them.

I vow to practice vigilance. I vow to set and keep the boundaries for my own work.

Will you join me?

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