activism

Posts tagged
with activism



Art

Poignant New Works by Pejac Confront the Urgency of Global Crises in Disquieting Detail

October 20, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Counterweight” (2021), oil, acrylic, and spray paint on paper mounted on a wooden stretcher, 190 x 135 x 4.3 centimeters. All images © Pejac, shared with permission

Spanish street artist Pejac (previously) addresses the concept of “returning to normal” in a discerning new series that focuses on the urgency of the issues affecting the world today. Centered on the increasingly disastrous effects of the climate crisis and the social issues that dominate the news cycle, the artist speaks to the myriad global crises in his largest exhibition to date, which opens on October 30 in a former train factory in Berlin. Titled APNEA, the solo show features 45 of his newest works in myriad mediums and themes, including chaotic scenes in acrylic, oil, and spray paints, delicate honeycomb on cardboard, and large-scale sculptures and installations that occupy the industrial space.

Pejac created many of the pieces on view since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, an ongoing concern that also formed the basis for his 2020 trio of interventions paying tribute to health care workers. The new series includes a disquieting depiction of the White House overcome by a violent riot, with canisters releasing billowing smoke and an unaware figure golfing in the foreground, in addition to a cyclone-like drain on a paint palette. Other pieces depict a surreal earthen map of the U.S. with state lines cracked in the dirt and a rendering of Rodin’s “The Thinker” precariously balanced on scaffolding. “During a time of lockdown, painting within the four walls of my studio felt like a liberation and a lifeline. APNEA represents this contradiction,” the artist says.

To coincide with the show’s opening, Pejac is releasing “The Boss” (shown below) as limited-edition prints and postcards available through a lottery system, and proceeds will be donated to Sea-Watch, a German NGO that has helped thousands of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea. The artist also teamed up with the organization for an installation depicting a child wearing a life jacket atop Neo-Gothic Holy Cross Church in Berlin, a heartwrenching visual that draws attention to the refugee crisis. You can find out more about the release and see additional works on Instagram.

 

“Drain I” (2021), oil on artist’s palette, 50 x 40 x .4 centimeters

“Flying Ashes II” (2021), pyrography and colored pencil on wood, 189.5 x 121.8 x 3.8 centimeters

“Urban Albatros” (2019), oil, acrylic, and spray paint on paper mounted on a wooden stretcher, 190 x 135 x 4.3 centimeters

“Geography Lesson II” (2020), oil and spray paint on paper mounted on a wooden stretcher, 190 x 135 x 4.3 centimeters

“Landless Stranded” (2021)

“Animal Kingdom” (2021), oil, acrylic, and spray paint on paper mounted on a wooden stretcher, 190 x 135 x 4.3 centimeters

Detail of “Sweet World” (2021), acrylic on honeycomb cardboard, 145 x 200 centimeters

“The Boss” (2021)

Detail of “The Boss” (2021)

“Social Distancing” (2021), oil and acrylic on viroc, 125 x 200 x 1.2 centimeters

Detail of “Social Distancing” (2021), oil and acrylic on viroc, 125 x 200 x 1.2 centimeters

Detail of “Social Distancing” (2021), oil and acrylic on viroc, 125 x 200 x 1.2 centimeters

 

 



Art Illustration

The Plated Project: An Ongoing Initiative Fights Hunger with Artist-Designed Dishes

September 29, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Linked” by Jinkal Patel. All images courtesy of The Plated Project

Falling at the intersection of art and activism, The Plated Project launched in 2019 with a simple idea: “You buy a plate. You fill a plate.” The ongoing initiative sells decorative, artist-designed dinnerware and donates 50 percent of the net profits to organizations combatting hunger. In the last two years alone, the project has involved hundreds of creatives—see the massive, eclectic collection ranging from abstract portraits to whimsical cityscapes on Instagram—totaling 500,000 meals provided to those in need. Every ceramic plate is released in limited-edition quantities, and you can shop the current offerings on the project’s site. For a similar initiative, check out the People’s Pottery Project, which supports prison abolition through a community art practice.

 

“Where I’ll be in ten years” by Clémentine Rocheron

“Living windows” by Aashti Miller

“See life blossom” by Snehal Kadu

“Midnight lights” by Aashti Miller

“Curtains” by Malika Favre

“Patched-up hues” by Soumyaraj Vishwakarma

 

 



Art Colossal

Interview: Arinze Stanley Speaks to the Indelible Impact of Police Brutality and How Extreme Emotion is the Key to Change

May 6, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Bullets and Denim #2” (2020), charcoal and graphite on paper, 30 x 26 inches. All images © Arinze Stanley, shared with permission

For the past few years, Nigerian artist Arinze Stanley (previously) has been at the forefront of hyperrealism with his powerful and sometimes surreal portraits that are arresting in size and emotion, which he discusses in a new interview supported by Colossal Members. His charcoal-and-graphite works are rendered in stunning detail and bear broader political messages, particularly in relation to state-sanctioned violence and his own experiences suffering from police and military brutality.

What people don’t recognize about Bullets and Denim is that the artwork shows emotion on all parts, but if you have a gunshot to your head, you should be dead, right? Well, these people in the photo are not dead. That encapsulates the concept of endurance in general. Even as we try to stitch the patches of our reality, I want people to see that, that we’ve had it to the head. Enough is enough. It’s a visual representation of enough is enough because from here onwards is death.

Colossal managing editor Grace Ebert joined Stanley for a conversation in March 2021 about how he brings his subjects to points of extreme frustration, the ways his drawings resonate with different audiences around the globe, and how he envisions his artworks as catalysts for meaningful change.

 

“The Machine Man 1” (2019), pencil on paper

 

 



Art

Art Advancing Justice: A Chicago-Based Artwork and Book Sale Raises Money to Build Racial Equity

May 3, 2021

Grace Ebert

Terry Evans, “Lake Michigan Morning. Lakefront on north side of Chicago. July 23, 2003,” archival inkjet print on Hahnamuhle paper, paper size 13 x 15 inches, image size 12 x 12 inches. All images courtesy of CAAU

Following a horrifying number of anti-Asian hate crimes in recent months, a group of artists and activists in Chicago have teamed up for an ongoing fundraiser, Art Advancing Justice. The artwork and book sale is organized by  Chicago API Artists United (CAAU) and launched last week with a wave of support—many of the pieces sold within the first day—with proceeds going toward Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago, an organization that’s been hosting bystander training and other advocacy and civic engagement endeavors as a way to build racial equity.

CAAU director and co-founder Greg Bae tells Colossal that the fundraiser and broader organization grew organically from a network of artists and art writers who had been in conversation prior to uniting formally. “We’ve long been affected by anti-Asian sentiment, both the recent spike, its consistent regularity throughout our lives, and historically—but after the Atlanta shootings some of us got together and decided to mobilize our collective art networks and practices to try to make a direct impact,” he says.

Drawing on the experiences of its sibling organization Chicago Art for Black Futures, CAAU solicited  137 donations from 79 contributors, an unexpected outpouring of support that Bae says quickly raised the fundraising goal from $5,000 to $15,000. “Chicago art communities responded with a lot of love. Our friends and allies, too, are very sick and tired of hate and were happy to support us,” he shares.

Art Advancing Justice coincides with Asian Pacific American Heritage month and runs through May 22. Shop available pieces on the CAAU site, and follow the organization on Instagram to stay up-to-date with its efforts, which include plans to partner again with Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago and other activist projects focused on building anti-racist communities.

 

Ali Aschman, “Locus” (2020), graphite on paper, 16.5 x 23 inches

Kimberly Kim, “Red Bottoms” (2021), glazed stoneware, two objects, each 3 x 5 x 5 inches

Ellen Rothenberg, “SHE IS DEFIANT!” (2008), signed silkscreen poster with a personal dedication, 18 x 24 inches

Hana Jiang, “A Fishy Girl” (2019), woodcut print on rice paper, 11 x 14 inches

Megan R. Diddie, “Time Moves” (2017), colored pencil on paper, 8 x 11 inches

Hương Ngô, “We are here because you were there. Chúng tôi ở đây vì quí vị đã ở đó. Nous sommes ici parce que vous étiez là-bas” (2016-2017), hectograph, 24 x 19 inches

 

 



Art

A Sprawling Installation Explores the Power of Protest as It Floats Above a MASS MoCA Gallery

April 15, 2021

Grace Ebert

“In the Light of a Shadow” (2021), installation view. Photo by Tony Luong. All images courtesy of MASS MoCA, shared with permission

Rocky debris, vintage photographs, and a wooden ship colliding with its own hull are suspended above a 100-yard gallery at MASS MoCA for “In the Light of a Shadow.” The work of Los Angeles-born artist Glenn Kaino (previously), the monumental installation generates a sprawling environment filled with thousands of floating elements that speak to the vast impact of protest and collective movements.

Lined with an aisle of light and constantly moving shadows, the hovering artworks fuse memories of past injustices and a brighter, hopeful path forward in an immersive experience. Specifically, Kaino uses “In the Light of a Shadow” as a response to the horrific events of Bloody Sunday in both Selma, Alabama, and Derry, Northern Ireland. He models the wrecked ship after the Shadow V, a modest boat Lord Mountbatten often used for fishing, that the Irish Republican Army bombed in 1979 to assassinate the member of the royal family.

The towering display is also paired with a metal sculpture comprised of tuned bars that emit the melody from U2’s protest anthem “Sunday Bloody Sunday” when pinged in succession. A collaborative video with singer and activist Deon Jones, who police nearly blinded after shooting with a rubber bullet for protesting George Floyd’s murder, plays nearby, drawing together the historic tragedies with those happening today.

“In the Light of a Shadow” is on view through September 5. Find more of Kaino’s works, which span installation and sculpture to film, on his site.

 

“In the Light of a Shadow” (2021), installation view. Photo by Will McLaughlin

“In the Light of a Shadow” (2021), installation view. Photo by Tony Luong

“In the Light of a Shadow” (2021), installation view. Photo by Tony Luong

“In the Light of a Shadow” (2021), installation view. Photo by Tony Luong

“In the Light of a Shadow” (2021), installation view. Photo by Tony Luong

“In the Light of a Shadow” (2021), installation view. Photo by Tony Luong

“In the Light of a Shadow” (2021), installation view. Photo by Tony Luong

 

 



Art

Art and Activism Collide Throughout Montréal in Playful Street Interventions by Roadsworth

February 9, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Roadsworth, shared with permission

Crosswalks become perches and bike lanes morph into a monkey’s ropes in Roadsworth’s lively street interventions. For decades, the Montréal-based artist (previously) has been altering sidewalks, alleyways, and other public spots with largely nature-based projects that are informed by social issues and environmental crises. Whether a trippy koi pond or a simple yellow spider, the additions transform otherwise drab streets into unexpected commentary.

In recent years, Roadsworth has created large-scale projects for a variety of organizations, including revitalizing a basketball court for a social housing complex and another for Amnesty International that comments on the horrors of the refugee crisis. Beyond commissions, he continues guerilla street art tactics, installing oversized birds, insects, and other animals that often are overlooked.

The artist tells Colossal that these works reflect his “philosophy in regards to public art/street art which implies a questioning of urban space in general and an entreaty to rethink a city that is more conducive to walking/cycling and less dominated by cars, etc. The depiction of various animals is a playful way of reinventing the notion of urban space.”

Follow Roadsworth on Instagram to keep up with his site-specific works that merge art and activism.

 

“Refugee Crisis” (2016)

“Darling Foundry Koi Pond” (2020)

Right: “Tree Lace” (2019)

Detail of “Refugee Crisis” (2016)

“Nurture vs Nature” (2018)