Art and Activism
I watched Facebook implode on itself this morning. Shriek cries of “neo-Nazi” and “racist” echoed around most of the Romani groups I am a member of, and all because of two members:
One who created art that was deemed inappropriate and offensive by another (who has made several such claims)
which then escalated into a campaign to oust the artist as a neo-Nazi, fascist, racist, impostor.
It makes me shake my head in despair.
It’s okay for photographers to swan around stereotyping Roma as dirty, uneducated, abjectly poor thieves; it’s okay for authors to write defamatory statements in their books; it’s okay for Holocaust museums to rewrite history without us; it’s okay for governments to trample our rights; it’s okay for media and consumer outlets to portray us as romanticized and sexualized objects; it’s okay for us to be forcibly evicted and corralled like animals – I see no complaints about those things.
but, I see disgusting rumours spread about an artist because she dares to address difficult subjects.
They are meant to make you feel uncomfortable. As are her other images with swastikas and likenesses of Hitler. You are supposed to squirm, to feel like you want to look away – after all, that’s what the European government is doing in regards to the Roma and in regards to the rising tide of right-wing facist and neo-Nazi groups who openly want to destroy us.
If it makes you feel so uncomfortable, don’t attack the artist who only displays the truth – attack the governments and individuals who are allowing this to take place in their countries unchecked. Confront the real racists in this equation. Don’t hide behind your computer attacking the people who are trying to do something.
Art is not always pretty.
Art is not always uplifting.
Art is not always about the good.
This is art as activism. Art as a political statement. Art as uncomfortably necessary.
[Marika’s other work can be seen here: ARTBRUT. I encourage you to check out the site and create your own opinion]