Making a statement with political art

When art merges with politics it has the ability inspire a deeper rage.

Politics is more than policies and documents; it manifests itself in international relations, state structuring, local community blocks, student organizations, classrooms, familial relations, the civil society and even the way in which everyday people interact. The idea of politicking is one that is deeply rooted in the very fiber of human existence, and consequently, politics naturally appears in the realm of art.

One can understand by general conclusions that art is a sensual object that is a reflection of the world, its people or reactions to the activities that take place. A powerful breed emerges with art and politics, and political expression drives art to be symbolic, pan-cultural and timeless. Art has the ability to challenge systems of power. The music produced during the Vietnam War era is an example of artistic resistance.

This powerful mix was exemplified during the past elections with musicians conveying their political views through art. Michael Moore’s documentary “Fahrenheit 9/11” was both artistic and timely. Artists such as Rage Against the Machine shook the ’90s with strong anti-establishment rhetoric and resistance towards exploitive systems. Imitating this effect, student groups on campus, like Voices Merging, allow students to communicate ideology through art. Scholars such as Milton Glaser, who recently published the book “The Design of Political Dissent,” study political art from all over. To many, it’s inherent that the entities are deeply embedded; however, controversy rises when mixed.

Earlier this century, muralist and labor organizer Diego Rivera created “Man at the Crossroads” at the Rockefeller Center, but due to intense controversy, the painting was taken down within a year. Controversy is healthy to a democratic society since it creates discussion. By creating controversy, art becomes effective community organizing.

On a more local level, Minneapolis is rich with political art. The Pangea World Theater in Uptown is known for its series of plays titled “Voices of Exile,” which show the refugee struggle that many Minnesotans face. Students should take advantage of this aspect of Minneapolis and experiment with what the city offers.