Visiting artists speak about 'Art of Liberation'


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3:55 p.m., Feb. 15, 2011----To illustrate art as an essential form of activism and foundation for social change, the departments of Art and Black American Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences are offering a joint undergraduate course, “The Art of Liberation,” that will feature lectures from three visiting artists on the social conditions surrounding their work.

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The first lecture by celebrated printmaker and digital artist Favianna Rodriguez, widely recognized for her posters on social justice issues concerning war and immigration, will be held Wednesday, Feb. 16, at 6:30 p.m. in 101 Brown Lab.

“I'm interested in how artists mobilize their communities,” said Associate Professor Colette Gaiter, who teaches Art of Liberation and has organized the guest lectures for the course.

“Activist art can be a direct action against specific oppression,” she explained, citing Rodriguez' work on Latinos and immigration, “or it can be anything -- from a mural to a community garden -- that empowers people and communities to have more control over their lives.”

The series will feature lectures from other noted artists:

  • Mel Edwards, a sculptor, and Jayne Cortez, a poet and performance artist, will deliver the Paul R. Jones Annual Lecture in conjunction with the Art of Liberation series on Monday, March 7, at 6 p.m. at the Trabant University Center Theatre; and
  • Emory Douglas, artist and former minister of culture of the Black Panther Party, will speak on Thursday, April 7, from 6:30-8 p.m., at the Christina Cultural Center on North Market Street in Wilmington, the site of the 1968-69 occupation by the National Guard following the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the longest occupation in the nation's history

The lectures are free and open to the public.

In addition to the lecture series, students in the Art of Liberation course will partner with a Delaware community organization to create a project that uses art to encourage or create positive change. “We hope to inspire artists, activists, and community leaders to embrace the arts and humanities as powerful tools for civic engagement and lasting social change,” said Gaiter.

The Art of Liberation lecture series is supported by the Interdisciplinary Humanities Research Center, the Department of Art, and the Paul R. Jones Initiative.

Article by Artika Rangan