What is Activism? Activism is to promote and direct in political, environmental and socials in order to make changes in society. Activism can be in so many different forms. Some will protest, making campaigns and some sow their antagonism with silence and strikes. Social responsibility is that you have the duty to benefit society. That means if you work for an organization, you should act to maintain a balance socially, economically and environmentally.
There are plenty of ways to be an activist and communicate with people in order to give them a message. However, for a graphic designer is a great opportunity to spread the message into society visually.
Graphic design is much more than advertisements and branding. There are several graphic design activists that ben arguing their point of view in order to make changes and whether it was effective enough or not, I think their work has spread the concept well enough to the society.
Here are some graphic designers who fought for a better world with their artworks
One of my favorite activists in the design industry is Shepard Fairy who released ‘’ We the people’’ series to protest trump.
The posters designed for protest, feature Native Americans, African Americans, Muslims, and Latinas. (Amah-Rose Abrams, 20 Jan 2017)
Another poster which I think speaks out these days is by Adbusters who created the ‘’Occupy Wall Street’’ poster to protest social and economic inequality.
Another great design activist is Chaz Maviyane. As mentioned in Colorlines ‘’ When controversial Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe announced in May 2000 that elections would be held in June, giving the opposition party little time to launch a campaign, Zimbabwean graphic designer Chaz Maviyane-Davies began a month of “graphic activism.” Each day, he created one or two politically charged posters to counter ensuing voter intimidation by Mugabe’s government.’’ (by Beandrea Davis, from ColorLines , January / February 2008 )
Feminist Activism. As already mentioned, activism has several forms. However, as a young middle eastern woman who grew up in a third world country, been through a lot of inequalities and issues due to my gender, I would like to write about feminism and how graphic design activists showed the society the inequality that still exists even though we are in 21 century with all the improvements.
One of the greatest and the most successful feminist activists in art industry these days is the Guerrilla Girls who have done tones of protests and had so many artworks in galleries and museum and one of their best posters was ‘’Do Women Have to Be Naked To Get Into the Met. Museum?’’. This work, in my opinion, showed a lot of things to the society, especially the fact that women are getting attention only when they are naked.
In one of their interviews when the executive asked them ‘’why choose art as a place for feminism?’’ They answered ‘’every aesthetic decision, has a value behind it and if all the decisions are being made by the same people, then the art will never look like the whole of our culture. And right now, the art world is kind of run by billionaires art collectors who buy art that appeal to their values and we say art should look like the rest of our cultures. Unless all the voices of our culture are in the history of art, it is not really a history of art. it’s a history of power.’’
As a graphic design student, had the opportunities to show my protest in some of my projects which argues the inequality and human rights.