Art can serve as a tool for education, agitation, and social critique. As a woman of color, artist, and first generation American, my art practice serves as a voice for marginalized, disenfranchised people all over the world. Through an artistic practice, it is possible to confront the multitude of images of disempowerment fed to us by mainstream media. Essentially, art can serve as a manifestation of the world we seek to create. It is imperative to understand that we practice art in a time of increased media monopoly. The level of self-censorship in mainstream media leads to one-dimensional coverage of issues that are important to all citizens—the war in Iraq, our dependence on oil, the true costs of “free trade” and globalization (to name a few). In this context, the voice of the socially—engaged artist becomes of even greater importance.
My work is often transformed into a tool with which to organize and inform, images of change rather than adaptability, images that become owned by the people. They become acts of public intervention and power, expressing some of the most serious issues of a community. In my art, I try to capture the experiences of a people in daily struggle, to document their efforts and celebrate their victories. At times my work is called propaganda art, but this does not bother me since all art always speaks on someone’s behalf.
Building a sense of solidarity with other politically-minded artists is also a cornerstone of my work. I recently launched a book project entitled Reproduce and Revolt!, an unprecedented collection of 600 political images for royalty-free creative use. The book contains over 600 high-quality black & white illustrations by 200 artists in twelve countries. The production process for this book taught me how to effectively build ties with people on the ground who are working for social change, and has shaped the approach I take today—one largely centered on distribution and reuse, including using the Web for sharing artistic content.
Art alone does not transform the world - mass movements do. It is the unique collaborations between artists, activists, and other people that forge true social change.
“Visit www.favianna.com to see this extraordinary artist’s work. She is truly a force to be reckoned with.” – Sydney L. Murray – Publisher, Vision Magazine. Or E-mail her your thoughts at email@example.com.