Monday, February 16, 2009

Conscious Beginnings...

 My mom says that I have always loved to create art since I was old enough to hold a crayon. Others ask me how I became interested in social justice issues, especially growing up in a small farming town with virtually no diversity. I really don't know, but I do remember art inspiring me to explore these issues. The first time I remember being conscious of different cultures and truly exploring the divide between people of different races, ethnicities, and nationalities was with an art project my freshman year in high school. I don't even remember what the project was supposed to be, but I painted people of all different backgrounds, huddled together, surrounded by goldish-brown protective arms. When I think back on this painting, I think that I was probably processing what little experience I had with different cultures. 

I was very aware of my Norwegian background...I went to Norwegian camp and learned the arts, crafts, songs, and dances, and we always had Norwegian desserts during Christmas. I also remember that two of my closest friends in elementary school were from different backgrounds and I was very hurt whenever someone made fun of my friends because of their clothes, food, hair, etc. I also remember that, besides these 2 friends, the other few students of color in school were all adopted by white families. I remember hearing racist jokes growing up and feeling very uncomfortable, but feeling that I should laugh. No one ever talked to us about these kind of issues, but I managed to process it somewhat on my own, through art. 

In college, when I was surrounded by an even greater diverse group of people (religiously, sexually, ability-wise, etc) much of my artwork my sophomore year of college also explored these issues. I think art is a great medium to use to bring awareness and educate people. Art draws people in and asks them questions about themselves and the world without needing an answer back.

Ultimately, I would love to be paid to create conscious art with youth, in order to promote change in their communities. I will be using this blog to explore the different ways that art can be use to foster dialogue, raise awareness, and ignite change.

1 comment:

  1. woohoo! this is awesome!
    I'll buy one of your necklaces!