Art as Activism – Day 36

[Today’s featured artwork for Day 36 of the 365 Days Project is by Esmond Lyons.]

Painting of Madonna and Child by Esmond Lyons
“Madonna and Child” by Esmond Lyons. Photo courtesy ©Esmond Lyons.

Art can bring beauty to the world. It can also confront the viewer by challenging perceptions.

#36 – Listen. Artists have something to say and they’re not afraid to say it.

Artists are used to exposing their souls on gallery walls. They aren’t afraid of expressing contrary opinions, suggesting new perspectives, questioning the status quo. Or celebrating what’s right with the world.

Otto Dix painted the harsh realities of World War I. Wildlife photographer Joel Sartore takes studio portraits of animals on the verge of extinction in an effort to save them. Banksy’s street art explores social and political themes including consumerism, authoritarianism, greed, poverty and hypocrisy. Judy Chicago pioneered feminist art. Her collaborative installation, “The Dinner Party,” is regarded as the first epic feminist artwork – a symbolic history of women in Western civilization.

Every artist has something to say – whether contemplating a falling leaf or speaking out against injustice or recording moments in history. They’re not afraid of rattling cages – not just for the publicity, but to shake up the viewer. In the Artist Mind, creativity is sparked by pure expression and perhaps, the opportunity to make a change in the world.

“My wish: use art to turn the world inside out.”

“I believe in art that is connected to real human feeling, that extends itself beyond the limits of the art world to embrace all people who are striving for alternatives in an increasingly dehumanized world.”
Judy Chicago

“The typical nature photograph shows a butterfly on a pretty flower. The conservation photograph shows the same thing, but with a bulldozer coming at it in the background.”
Joel Sartore

“The purpose of activism and art, or at least of mine, is to make a world in which people are producers of meaning, not consumers…”
Rebecca Solnit

Painting of The Annunciation by Esmond Lyons
“The Annunciation” by Esmond Lyons. Photo courtesy ©Esmond Lyons.

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The 365 Days Project

In 2012, Serena Kovalosky committed to writing an article a day for 365 days as an exploration into the lives of artists and the value of creative thinking in our society.

Experience the full evolution of the project! Click below to read the entire collection of articles.

Click to view The 365 Days Project

Description of the image included in this post:

Madonna and Child
Esmond Lyons, New York, USA
Oil on board

The Annunciation
Esmond Lyons, New York, USA
Oil and acrylic on canvas

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