Social Issues and Artists

IamWoman-AmericanKestrelBirdMy college art history classes taught me that many artists expressed their beliefs about political and social issues through their art, in their paintings, writings, music, photography and poems.  That was why many creative people were the first to be imprisoned during wars and military takeovers so that their voices were quieted from the masses.

Picasso’s “Guernica” painted in 1937, is one of the most important anti-war works of art produced in the 20th century. He painted other social issues as well.  Some other artists in our time are Judy Chicago, Robert Mapplethrope, and Shirin Neshat’s photos and videos of “Women of Allah”.  These artists gave their voice to the issues of their times often reaching more people with their work than in any other way.

I had always been a women’s rights advocate but in college I was stunned to find that women were left out of the art history books and the dialogue when I attended in the 80’s.  I began to feel that it was my responsibility, through my paintings, to give voice to these social issues that stilted women’s growth.  To this day women are still under represented in the art dialogue, art history and elsewhere. Whenever I feel it is necessary to point out social injustices haunting women, I paint an image so the world can see it. And hanging them in exhibitions gets that voice even louder.

In 2010, when many states and the House of Congress started backtracking on women’s rights that they had already won, I started a series of paintings named, “I Am Woman, I Can Fly”.  One of those paintings, “I Am Woman, I Can Fly – American Kestrel Bird” was juried by Michael Aurbach of Vanderbilt University into the Fletcher Exhibition, sponsored by the East Tennessee State University’s Department of Art & Design and Slocumb Galleries in partnership with Urban Redeveloment Alliance and Fletcher H. Dyer Memorial Scholarship.

The Fletcher H. Dyer Scholarship is a compelling story in itself.  I copied this from his site and if you have time you should go there and read the rest.
Fletcher Hancock Dyer, age 22, was lost too soon in a
motorcycle accident in Johnson City, TN on November 5,
2009. As an artist and graphic designer, Fletcher created
works that addressed social and political issues thus exposing
injustices through visual means. Fletcher was always curious
and aware of current events; he experimented in innovative
ways to create works that investigate contemporary social
issues. New, unexpected ideas and perspectives had unique
ways of coming to the surface as a result of Fletcher’s
creative means of rattling cages.”

I feel really proud to be included in this exhibition.  You can order prints of this painting here.  Or you can order blank, greeting cards of this image on my website.
Information about the exhibition:
Fletcher Exhibition • November 1-27, 2013
Tipton Gallery 126 Spring Street, Johnson City, TN
Reception: November 1, 6-8pm
For more images of my paintings, please go to my portfolio on my website or blog.

Author: Joyce Wynes

Fine Artist and Illustrator

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