This Tuesday, I had a chance to have a meal LaToya Ruby Frazier and I attended her lecture on Thursday. She made me rethink about the art as a weapon for social change. Her work is amazing and inspiring. She made a model for us to do creative work for social justice.
LaToya a photographer and video artist who uses visual autobiographies to capture social inequality and historical change in the postindustrial age. Her works included self-portraiture and social narratives. Her themes included social justice, environmental justice, and racial conflicts. Her styles include landscape, black and white photos and video works.
For years, I have been thinking about how art can facilitate social change. First of all, arts might not result in direct change. Many policy tools can help, such as executive orders, bills or regulations. However, arts are merely a media to express opinions and positions. Secondly, how can artwork spreads out the message? How many people can have access to these works? Will they be able to understand and absorb the information from them?
After all, as to modern arts, many artists believe that the point of making art is for art itself. There are no limitations for classic styles such as realism or impressionism. The meaning of artworks is decreasing and simplified.
I think LaToya Ruby Frazier provided me with her version of answers. She firmly believed that art is a weapon, which is a catalyst for social justice. Effective documentation and storytelling will be highly powerful if people feel moved and that is the point of doing it. “Indeed,” she said, “art is not the final answer, but its purposes are to ask questions.” Many people have realized social problems, but they couldn’t formulate the questions. Art is to ask these questions in a more concrete and creative way. After a lot of people could perceive these messages,  bottom-up revolutions could begin.
She also describes the expectation of being an artist. She didn’t think herself as an activist, because she is not in the first front line. The camera and lenses made her voice powerful and because of them, she was able to ask questions in a more powerful way.
I believe her story and experiences are inspiring. From what she did, I understand that people can play different roles in social change. Her works gave me confidence to speak out and express my ideas, and allowed me to believe that arts indeed are great weapons. Therefore, in the near future, arts will lead the social waves.