The Ways and Means of Activist Art, from Latin America to LA


Alfadir Luna, “El Señor del Maíz” (2012), Chromogenic print, from the exhibition Talking to Action: Art Pedagogy, and Activism in the Americas at Otis College of Art and Design, Ben Maltz Gallery (photo by Anayatzin Ortiz. Colección Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey)


The article: The Ways and Means of Activist Art, from Latin America to LA examines the different ways in which art has been used by the people of Latin America in activism. While the writer does not explicitly describe the various ways, rather, adopting a sweeping, summarizing view of activism through art, his use of pictures and links to other websites and articles showing the same information serves to emphasize the relevance and presence of this activism through art.

 His description of universities’ and educational institutions’ involvement in activism serves to qualify this as a genuine, notable, even scholarly phenomenon. His initial description of Latin American heritage as being marked by “periods of colonialism followed by independence, utopian idealism, and in many cases, oppression, corruption, and inequality.” serves to tell the story of how Latin America came to be what it is today. Saying this, he continues to describe how at every stage, oppression and corruption has been met by resistance and protest by the people of Latin America. In saying this, the writer references the courage, justice, and sense of responsibility in the people of Latin America and their dynamic identities.
The writer references many different countries with specific examples of the nature of activism expressed through art there:

SEFT-1 in Mexico

– a quirky, futuristic vehicle that travels along Mexico’s system of dilapidated railways, exploring the nation and its ideas about progress along the way;

Frente 3 de Fevereiro in Sao Paolo

-collective that investigates the military oppression of Afro communities in Medellín, Rio de Janeiro, and Haiti

In promoting educational institutions’ conversations around Latin American issues and identity, the author helps to encourage dialogue around Latin America and conversations about it around the world.



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