“If I had all the time in the world..”
We’ve all thought of it, or said it, but who would have known that it would actually come true? Well, the vision is 20/20 for this particular year. I’ve said this particular phrase multiple times, and it had become my reality. During that time, I began to do one of the things that I thought I would never have the time for; I began to work with artists. While volunteering at the non-profit organization Love 4 Immigrants, I was able to open my eyes to new methods of self-awareness and self-expression through art. Talking with artists and their experiences in retaining their creativity have definitely helped in managing the roller coaster that is 2020.
With all the events that have occurred in the past year, it can be easy to lose sight of ourselves. It is important to understand how these events have impacted us, and one of the best ways to capture that is through art. Salomé Cosmique, a Latina multidisciplinary artist, specializes in the political, social, and healing powers of art. By using a diverse set of mediums, such as painting, drawing, sound, and performance, she is able to revive her memories and bring them back to life, “One of the objectives of my work is to remember our memories, where we came from, and who our ancestors were because if we do not remember our history, we will be unable to effect change and will continue to repeat the same mistakes.”
We are three-dimensional beings, so it would make sense that not everything we feel, think, or say can fit onto a canvas or sketch pad. Sometimes, our own bodies and actions can serve as a medium and a step in the healing process. Salomé sees her “performative actions as part of my activism and as a symbol of protest. [...] Through my performances I use my body as a vehicle of protest allowing the public to interact with my body so that they may also live my experiences and to be a part of the work itself.”
Perspectives have definitely been altered in the past eleven months, and more is still to come in the next month before we welcome in the new year. Josemarie Nyagah, an artist from Kenya, uses photography, film, and poetry as her mediums of choice to portray how art can be used to shift perceptions and create transformation in society. Art helps to bring new perspectives to different corners of the world. The reach of art is influential, whether it is with a small group or with the whole world. Josemarie said, “It’s a way for somebody to read my thoughts, even if they’re not very clear.”
It has become prevalent that art is a powerful communicator by simply portraying what is occurring, which is so important during the age of social media. Social media serves its purpose well in connecting people and exchanging information, but when there is a lot happening in a short span of time—killer bees, the presidential election, TikTok almost being banned, a global pandemic, and possible vaccines—it can feel like being stuck in a whirlpool; moving too fast, too quickly, with no grasp of your surroundings. Artwork can help to minimize the effects of all that craze with a few strokes or a click, depending on the medium. A piece of art can effectively portray information and the emotions that come with it without a single word in sight. Some examples are: the black fist outlined in white to represent the Black Lives Matter movement, and the red hands covering the mouth of the blue girl in the hijab represent the Free the Uyghur Muslims movement.
It’s important to find ways to ground yourself during these recent times. It can be dance, photography, painting, or any other medium that lets you express yourself with no limitations. After what we’ve been through, we need to exhale the big breath that has been kept in our lungs since March. We are going to need all our energy for the last month of 2020, and we are going to come out the other end stronger than when the year started, that much I am certain of. Hopefully, art will help you realize that.