Social Protest/Affirmation By: Velissa Mendoza Pablo Machado
Introduction Protests Against Military Action For thousands of years artists have used paintings to show the glory of war, and those defeated from battle. Not long ago they started using art for political and religious leaders. Warfare was a means to gain power, so they used art to display that power.
The artist Francisco Goya painted this piece on the actual events from 6 years earlier. The citizens rose up against Napoleons army, there attempt failed and many were caught and executed. Here you can see the soldiers lining them up and shooting them. One man stands out though, the man in white. You can see that he has his arms stretched out in the pose of the crucified Jesus Christ. ‘TheExecutions’
Painted by Kathe Kollwitz. This is the Fifth print in a series of 7 that tell a Story of the peasant war in Germany. The first 4 prints are the causes of the War; abuse by the ruling class, poverty, and rape of women. This image though is when the peasants Revolt, propelled by there horrible living conditions. You can see angry People rushing with different weapons. The main focus though is the dark Woman in front, she seems to be Leading them. With her being female it Breaks the stereotypes about women's Passivity and in the end it was the Women who rose up. ‘TheOutbreak’
In the mid 1930’s Spain was engulfed in a civil war that was a prelude to WWII. David Alfaro painted Echo of a Scream in response to the horror of the war. This painting is very symbolic. The screaming symbolizes all of humanity with the pained helpless child sitting in debris and destruction. The larger head on top symbolizes all the victims we don’t see. It also has very dark and somber colors to add to the sadness of it.
On the other side of the world in Japan, the atomic bomb that hit at the end of WWII was so powerful that it vaporized its victims that were close to the area. Those much farther away were still hit with the force of it and many were disfigured and scarred. Japanese artist Tomatsu Shomei took a photograph of a woman who was caught in the blast. It shows the scars all over her face and you can see by her pained expression that it still affects her to this day even though it happened long ago.
Fighting for the oppressed Artists use many strategies to make there points heard when they are fighting for something. They use: beauty, illustration, narrative, humor, and shock. Almost all of these protest works are used to affect public consciousness.
Beauty and excitement can be very effective elements in protest art. In this painting you see Liberty as a nude woman (symbolizing her to be flesh and blood) holding a flag and rushing forward quite oblivious to the dangers around her. She is the belief that revolution will find a better way. The work is romantic in its portrayal of fighting as thrilling, dangerous and liberating.
Child Labor Illustrating the oppressive situation is the best way to social protest. Lewis Hine often photographed children working in horrible conditions, up to 12 hours a day for 15 cents. This made schooling impossible for them, so they ended up overworked, poor, and illiterate.
‘During The Truce Toussaint Is Deceived And Arrested By LeClerc. LeClerc Led Toussaint To Believe That He Was Sincere, Believing That When Toussaint Was Out Of The Way, The Blacks Would Surrender.’ Painted by Jacob Lawrence. It is about Toussaint , a slave who led a revolt in Haiti that resulted in the end of slavery In 1794. He created a mostly black Government and resisted the French, English and Spanish. Here you can see that he was captured by the French and eventually died one year later in his cell. Haiti finally overcame the French and became the first Black-Governed country In the western hemisphere.
‘The Rent Collection Courtyard’ These are actual sculptures by an anonymous team, there are over 100 life-size Figures. This shows a poor old man giving his tax money to a rich landlord. You Sympathize with the old man with his sad, tired face. He’s wearing nothing but Old torn pants while the landlord is watching him, dressed very fancy with a smug Look on his face. This Realistic artwork makes the viewer feel like they’re actually there.
The State Hospital Shocking ugliness can be used for Protest Art. In the painting ‘The State Hospital’, Edward Kienholz shows and criticizes how society deals with incompetent people. Inside a dirty room lies a man in his old bed, he is strapped down and unable to move anywhere except to use the small urinal. He is completely naked and it shows his bony legs and lethargic body. His head is actually a fish bowl with 2 small black fish swimming aimlessly inside. You can see a large bubble above his head encircling on the top bunk another image of himself. All the props in this piece are actually from institutions. Everything from the bed to the urinal.
By Cildo Meireles. He was getting angry that his country Brazil was “selling” itself to other countries to support themselves. A lot of the natural environment was being destroyed because of it. He didn’t want his country to be in the market, so he rounded up old Coca-cola bottles, screen printed subversive messages on them, and resold them. On the bottom of these Cola drinks say “Go Home Yankees” Obviously to the Americans. It was very smart to advertise this way because the Coke drink is a very popular item, especially in the U.S.A. Everyone drinks it, so everyone will read it.
Humor Humor is another way for effective protest. For example in the work titled sun mad raisins. Ester Hernandez takes familiar imagery from popular commercial culture and subverts it.
Affirming the values of the oppressed When a group of people is oppressed, their way of life tends to be ridiculed. Art is a very effective tool for affirming the lifestyles and values of downtrodden groups.
Hans Holbein the younger painted the portrait of the Christian humanist sir Thomas More. Who was a scholar author, and statesman. He invented the term utopia and wrote a book envisioning a state practicing religious tolerance and free of political and economic oppression.
Mixed media Puerto Rican born Pepon Osorio’s mixed media Installation, the scene of the crime (who’s crime) Affirms the worth of Puerto Rican culture in new York , while protesting how the people are depicted in mass media . He recreated a typical Puerto Rican house, cluttered with statues , inexpensive religious objects, sentimental family pictures, etc. Police tape and bright lights indicate a crime has happened and a corpse laying face down on the floor. A welcome mat in front reads “only if you can understand that it has taken years of pain to gather into our homes our most valuable possessions ; but the greater pain is to see how the movies make fun of the way we live “
Art vs. politics Political cartoons have a long history of challenging politics and society in western nations. Works such as the legislative Belly were outlawed in 1835 by the government.
Portrait of George by Robert Arneson, is a bust portrait of George Moscone, a mayor from San Francisco in the late 1970s. His lively and distinct face lays on a column covered with graffiti like phrases of his more memorable sayings.
Oppressive Regime The two officers represent el Salvador's police and politicians, who conspired in the 1980’s to create an oppressive regime in their country. The knot which connects them seems to be made of two elongated phalluses in this picture Bonilla referred to the chauvinism in his culture that allows factions to oppress others.