Read this: Fantastic interview with Marvin Bing–creative director at Amnesty International’s Art for Amnesty program–who is a tireless advocate for the arts as a means to engage individuals and communities and enact powerful social, political, and cultural change.
By Rashad Drakeford at Revolt:
You’ve worked in social activism and politics in some shape or form for over 10 years — how did you come to combine that world with the art world?
I think about this question every second of everyday. When I was young going through the [foster care and juvenile justice] systems the one thing that always kept me busy and sane was the arts. In juvenile detention we had drama and arts classes and I was always energetic in those classes trying to read skits, reenact subjects in Hamlet and MacBeth, and paint (even though I was horrible at it and still am). It gave all of us a bright spark in the midst of being locked down.
What makes art such a powerful platform to tell the social justice story and help shift a generation?
It would be easy for you to dismiss art as unnecessary, a waste of money and resources, a luxury, a non-moneymaker for institutions and corporations. If you did this, you would be missing the point of the arts. The Arts exposes and helps resolve issues of social injustice. As a cultural tool, the arts help humanize and actualize the emotions, grievances, and fears of those who may not have another place to voice concerns. As an illustrative and journalistic tool, art shocks and inspires us to action. What art depicts can illicit a visceral, almost cellular, reaction especially in this new generation that doesn’t jump read a 200 page policy report or watch CNN all damn day, or read Politico, or graduated from Harvard/Yale/ or Stanford. The arts always have been a powerful expression of a community’s voice and identity, especially when that identity has been repressed by years of oppression.
This story was originally published on June 16th, 2016.