Can We Solve the World's Problems with Artivism?

"Art is the ultimate platform for sharing important messages and starting conversations around hard to discuss issues. I went to this event feeling, overwhelmed, oppressed, depressed, and enraged with the system that is selective at best around the issue of justice. I left feeling both engaged and empowered. "

Vanessa of SweetLeigh recently posted about her visit to the Manifest Justice Exhibit, Los Angeles, and it got me thinking...

"Can we solve the world's problems with artivism?"

But what is Artivism?

Artivism is art used to convey messages and emotion, push for change, and bring about awareness to issues such as environmental, social and even political. 

Here are some examples of political artivism that I witnessed on the streets of Hong Kong during last year's Umbrella Movement. 

Lennon Wall

Artivism is a powerful medium

Art evokes a lot of emotion;  think about how a singer's voice can move millions, or how the Lennon Wall encouraged protestors to stay strong. It doesn't matter whether it is a painting in a museum, a song, a movie or street art, artivism is a powerful medium. 

When a message is beautifully expressed through art, it gets people thinking and it starts a conversation!

Art is also documented, and so even if the movement has physically stopped, it continues to live on through these pieces. 

Artivism brings people together
The only common language is .... art! 

Artivism is a voice for the environment
Environmental artivism can be as disruptive as political artivism.  One of the most powerful pieces of environmental artivism is the Dying Swan, a Green Peace ballet performance against fracking. 

I think this is one of my favourites. It was part of the UnEarthed Exhibition in Singapore (Singapore Art Museum). Singaporean children are under immense stress due to the pressures to excel in school. The artist likens it to a piece of knitting - a lot of tension! The knitting is also green to highlight that our environment is also under stress the same way our children are, and of course, it is all due to man.

The effects of Singapore's environment on children
Another installation that really hits home is the mountains of clothes "7.5 tonnes" exhibited at the Star Ferry in Hong Kong by Redress Asia a few years ago. Can you imagine the impact of this on people? Do you think they will feel affected to the point they will feel empowered to do something about it?

Redress Asia

What do you think? Can we solve the world's problems with artivism?
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  1. I'm not sure if we can solve the problems, but it does bring attention to them.That is a step in the right direction.

    1. I think so too, Kim. It's better than preaching the message.

  2. Great blog post Agy and got me thinking too.

    RUDE [reusers of unloved discarded excess] makes a political and economic statement about the dire effects of rampant consumerism by wearing and refashioning garments from landfills. Because of the refashioning part of what RUDE Girl re-creates I am wondering if I am involved in artivism.

    Sass Brown author of Refashioned posted a few months ago that what I do is admirable but the masses are not there yet. But I am slowly noticing small changes in family and friends. My step daughter rang me the other day to see if I wanted fabric that she used on thye tables at her wedding. My friend sent me a pin cushion she had crafted and said that I was inspiring her to create. I write a blog and share RUDE'S anti-consumer activism. But am I, RUDE Girl an artivist?

    From RUDE Girl at

    1. I think we are, Karen, and because we wear our own creations, we are definitely change agents.

  3. Agy, I just nominated your blog for an award: