Question – with supporting evidence (research and images of art/design practices)
What is #blacklivesmatter and what does it communicate about our global society?
Throughout American history, discrimination has hindered the devolvement of safe and equal societies, in particular, the discriminations towards African American communities has had a substantial impact. #BLM creates a communication channel from the centre of the issue to the outside, it creates awareness regarding police brutality and begins to dismantle institutional racism and white supremacy. According to The Centre For American Progress, “people of colour are significantly overrepresented” in the U.S. prison population, making up more than 60 percent of the people behind bars”. Statistics also point towards a disproportionate amount of affect towards Coloured people in the so-called “drug war”. As a collective global society, we all hold a proportion of social responsibility that is suppose to prevent such matters from developing and corrupting. #BlackLivesMatter speaks for all inequality, and through education, it generates change.
Taking advantage of the rise of social media #BlackLivesMatter created a platform appealing to the younger generations, the generations that would eventually run today’s society. In an effort to create change, it must start with the children of the world – the leaders of tomorrow. The creation of #BlackLivesMatter was founded on Twitter, after “trending”, the movement gained momentum and soon became a heavily publicised movement which eventually outstretched to far corners of the world. The sheer mass of supporters created a sense of safety in numbers, the collective power of people’s voices is more influential than any medium.
Banksy. Piñata. Digital image. Banksy. Banksy, n.d. Web. 8 June 2016.
This artwork by Banksy represents the maltreatment of Rodney King, who was violently beaten by LAPD, and recorded by witnesses. On the 20th anniversary of King’s beating, Bansky reproduced a screenshot in a similar fashion to the recording.
Banksy uses the Piñata to represent King, Banksy encourages the reflection of the incident as well as the “dehumanisation of others leads to self-dehumanization”. The police are seen in a position of power, they out number and tower over the piñata, signifying vulnerability. Stencil revolution states, “The different colors on the pinata represent how people of all colors become victims of the erosion of civil liberties”.
Banksy. If Graffiti Changed Anything. Digital image. Unurth. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 June 2016.
The illegality of street art stems from the power of the medium, street art is able to reach all classes of society, it stimulates viewing from beyond the blank cube walls of a gallery. It places art into context, rather than the other way round. Street artists observe, analyse, and reflect the context and surroundings today, their work provokes thought in an immediate context. The suppression of street art is an attempt to retain power over the people, anything that has a cause and effect has the power to sway people’s opinions and thoughts, thus in turn dangerous for a government’s regime. Street art’s power remains with the people, the bigger the audience the bigger the effect, and thus setting the wheels of change in motion.