Youth led activism through art
Art and activism have always been deeply connected. From musicians like Bob Dylan, Green Day and U2 with songs raging against war, to artists like Banksy and Kent Monkman, who make political statements through their street art and art installations – creative expression through art has long been a part of activism.
Youth based activism is an integral part of all social justice movements. The future is theirs and it is important that they have a voice in how it is formed. There are youth based activism groups in the Quinte region working to make this area thrive for a long time. Fridays for Future Quinte is a local youth group co-founded by Anissa Nielsen. Nielsen is a grade 12 student at Centennial Secondary School with a passion for all forms of art, the environment and the community in which we live.
In order to bring awareness to the issue of climate change, Fridays for Future Quinte is hosting an art show at the Quinte Arts Council (QAC), EnviroArts: Earth Day Edition. The show, made up of local artists, including youth artists, features works that represent the earth in its current state, what it could be and what some artists fear it might become if change does not happen.
Nielsen said “ I want the art show to remind people that there is hope for the future. I know that we hear a lot of bad news about the environment but there are good things happening. Climate activists on every continent are working toward a better future and creating this art show was just one way I thought of to bring attention to the issue while inspiring people to help the environment.”
According to the Hot or Cool Institue of Berlin Canada is one of the worst carbon emitters per capita globally. Art can inform individuals and large corporations that change needs to happen. Art based activism targets the hearts and minds of audiences. It is integral to social justice movements because art fosters change and helps to guide the world toward a better future. Art shows people what they might be unable or unwilling to see with their own eyes.
“We are honoured to be hosting the EnviroArts: Earth Day Edition show,” says Janet Jarrell, executive director for the QAC. “It is our way to provide support to our young artists advocating for change, giving them a space where their voices can be heard. Art is a powerful tool that can be used to amplify voices, and provoke and inspire change. This show is meant to raise awareness about how we can create change as artists, individuals and as a society; changing the minds of people through inspirational art.”
EnviroArts highlights artists in the community who want to bring awareness to climate change. The show opened on April 22nd, Earth Day, and will run through May 9th at the QAC Gallery.