Art Is Not Just a Mirror...
A few years ago, I went through a diorama phase regarding my art. It was during "A Year Without a Purchase" in which I only spent money for a whole year on things related to food and health, and nothing else. Which meant looking for whatever I had in the house, could find for free, and ask friends to give to me for my art "projects". There were a lot of shoe boxes available, and thus all those dioramas that year.
With those shoeboxes I did a series of four dioramas of mass shootings in the United States (Orland, Florida night club, Newtown, Connecticut elementary school, Charleston, South Carolina church, and Aurora, Colorado movie theatre). I made them to be used for prayer stations in the windows of the church I was serving at the time. The response was very positive and people found the art helpful for reflection and possible future action.
Also that year, I made a red, white and blue diorama which I called, "The American Marionette Theatre" which had above the stage three puppeteers pulling the strings of a construction worker, a female basketball star who charged abuse, and a young black man who had been shot and killed. I posted it on Facebook hoping it would cause people to reflect and ask deeper questions regarding our country's current state of affairs.Several people unfriended me nearly as soon as it was posted. Thus, quite the opposite reaction of the other dioramas I had made "public."
I have learned my lesson, but not in the way you may think. I have been reminded once again about the power of art to make us think, reflect, and even act. I have been bolstered by the art that has been made around the deaths of George Floyd, Brianna Taylor and Black Lives Matter. These visual images had caused me to think, reflect and act. And thus, I am willing to have people be "mad" at me for the sake of maybe making the world a better place through my art.
An thus, my newest drawing posted here "Checkmate". What am I hoping you will do with it? I hope you will reflect on the roles of the "pawn", "king", those who live in "castles" and what the "bishop"/religious institutions and their leaders need to be doing in our time and whether those in "lower positions" can overcome or take down those in "higher positions." And if so, what could be your role in it.
In an article entitled "Remembering Art's Role in Social Change" An Xiao in speaking about social change says, "Art is not just a mirror; it's also part of the driving force." With that truth in mind, I encourage you, if you feel confused, angry, frustrated, despairing, hopeless, fearful, directionless, or paralyzed to look at the art being produced right now, begging us to change our world for the better. Won't you join me.