Ester Hernandez is a celebrated social artist due to her work in printmaking. The highlight of her statements is that she wants her art to contribute to uniting the world. She notes that the different races, genders, ages, and nationalities should not be separated from each other along such boundaries (Hernandez, 2010). Her most famous artwork had indeed pioneered her quest for using art in social activism. She made a poster titled Sun Mad in 1982 (Bain, 2014). This poster was a protest against the use of pesticides by the commercial farms in San Francisco, California (Wilson, 2016). It portrayed a skeleton-faced woman picking up a bunch of grapes, thus highlighting the poisonous effects of the pesticides.
One inspiring quote of the artist is: The light is not just in heaven, but its on earth. And we are living it (Hernandez, 2010).
Ester believes that art has an important role in advancing social causes. Indeed, the plight of her hometown farmers would not be revealed on a large scale if not for her protest piece.
Sun Mad by Ester Hernandez (Wilson, 2016)Ester has strong views that her artwork can speak up on current social issues such as domestic violence, cultural integration and post-traumatic stress disorder (Wilson, 2016). She feels that the captivating nature of art pieces is very effective in raising awareness of social causes. Her artwork was well accepted and appreciated because it was among the first works to criticize environmental impact of commercial activities. I feel that her work successful blends various important aspects including the Mexican culture and the role of women in shaping the society. It also shows her bold nature to speak out on social injustices.
Andy Warhol was also another social justice artist in the visual arts. His name was synonymous with pop art in the mid-19th century (Weekes, 2008). He engaged in various talents in the art field including painting, printmaking, and filmmaking. The highlight of his artistic statement was when he refuted the idea that one style of art was better than another (Pleasant, 2016). He advocated for a diversity in the knowledge of art styles among artists. One memorable quote of Andy Warhol is Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it (Laurence, 2016). This quote speaks to his nature as a visual artist who is naturally able to see the world from a unique perspective.
An example of a social protest artwork by Andy Warhol is The Big Electric Chair in 1963 (TATE, 2018). The image is a protest against the death penalty in the state of New York.
The artist advocates for the use of visual art to advance social issues because of their long-term impact on the society. He used his various talents in film, painting, and printmaking to make art pieces that illustrated prevailing societal trends. Most of his work touched on fame, television, and sex (Laurence, 2016).
Big electric chair by Andy Warhol Andy Warhols work breathed life into the style of pop art. He used his work mostly to relay political messages and the intrigues behind it hence it captured many people in the contemporary American society. His unique style of image repetitions introduced a new way to emphasize messages that captured his audience. I think that Warhol was successful in his quest due to his diverse talents and blending of styles. It made him reach a wider audience through his different styles which captured different audiences.
The two social activist artists mentioned above effectively used visual art to achieve their courses. The two profiles have shown the role of art in environment conservation, fighting for fundamental rights and freedoms of the oppressed, and also emancipating the masses towards specific social causes. The impact of visual art was more effective than literature works because they spoke to a wider audience, that is including the illiterate people. The two artists have also demonstrated the application of various types of visual art such as painting, filming and printmaking.
Bain, R. (2014). Ester Hernandez: Sun Mad. Art in Print, 5.
Hernandez, E. (2010, March 6). ESTER HERNANDEZ IN HER OWN WORDS. Retrieved from latinopia.com: http://latinopia.com/latino-art/ester-hernandez/
Laurence, R. (2016, August 4). Andy Warhol's 10 most memorable quotes. Retrieved from BBC: www.bbc.com/culture/Pleasant, A. (2016, June 9). Artists as Activists: Pursuing Social Justice. Retrieved from HuffPost: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/amy-pleasant/artists-as-activists-purs_b_11783614.html
TATE. (2018, January 5). Electric Chair. Retrieved from Tate.org: HYPERLINK "http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/warhol-electric-chair-t07145" http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/warhol-electric-chair-t07145
Weekes, J. A. (2008, October 30). Warhols Pop Politics. Retrieved from Smithsonian.com: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/warhols-pop-politics-89185734/
Wilson, E. (2016, July 8). Sun Mad: Ester Hernandez, One of the Bay Areas Las Mujeres Muralistas, Takes on Agribusiness. Retrieved from California Magazine: https://alumni.berkeley.edu/california-magazine/just-in/2016-11-14/sun-mad-ester-hern-ndez-one-bay-areas-las-mujeres-muralistas
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