When I watched the movie Exit Through the Gift Shop by Banksy, I saw Thierry Guetta, a French immigrant, interview famous male graffiti artists, such as Invader, Shepard Fairey, and Banksy. Suddenly a question came to my mind: “Do women make graffiti?” Later new questions arose in my mind, if men make graffiti to express their political and social problems, then there must also be women who use art to express their own thoughts or problems. Who are those women? What do women want to express? What kind of visual arts do most of these women use? When feminist movements use their artwork to help society think critically of political, social, and cultural issues and inspire people to take action and make changes in society, is called artivism.
According to Vanina Serra et al., “When we combine creative expression (art) with action and efforts to achieve political change (activism), we end up with artivism. Artivism is a term that has been coined by those who use artistic expression as a tool for political activism” (Serra et al.). Nowadays, feminist movements use artivism to reflect issues as domestic violence, maternity leave, sexual harassment, sexual violence, etc. to call for stronger laws and changes. The main goal of feminist artivists is that women have the same rights and opportunities as men in the political, social, and culture sphere. Therefore, feminist artivists of the 21st century use their creativity and talent into different visual and performing arts. Public performing art, graffiti, and photography are the most effective artistic forms that feminist artivists can use to promote the empowerment of woman and gender equality.
One of the most effective artistic forms that feminist artivists use is the public performance art. Feminist artivists relate art to political power, creating a protest art. Feminism movement are already a form of protest, as women constantly fight against the gender stereotypes, discrimination, and prejudices that a patriarchal society imposes on women. For long time, most women have participated in mayor feminist movements in order to find solutions and end the violence against women and demand respect. It is through public performance art that women express their dissatisfaction. In the article, “Greatest Protest Art Examples-From Picasso to Banksy” Elena Martinique, who is a philosophy graduate in Theory, Politics, and Art, states “art can often become dangerously and explicitly political and serve as a powerful weapon.” Thus, is how artistic women use the best of their creativity as a powerful tool and put it at the service of human beings to achieve social change and demonstrate that a better world is possible. Feminist artivists are characterized by occupying public spaces to present their performance art, adapting new communication techniques, and approaching the audience in order to claim the women’s rights. These women are not afraid to express themselves and complain, since they are aware that the most important thing is the action and not the result or the product. Martinique discusses that “protest art is very difficult to determine its origins” and exposes examples of activist artists such as “Dada who opposed the First War with a satirical speech, the Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros, who opposed leftist politics in the century XX, and also the artist Judy Chicago, founder of Feminist Art, which explored the position of women in culture and history through large collaborative installations.” Martinique also states some of the most influential women's art protests today as
“The Pussy Riot- a Russian feminist punk rock group who have flighted for gender equality, LGBT rights, freedom of expression and opposition to Vladimir Putin. The political protests of Pussy Riot through their performances are examples of how the power of the state and authoritarian policies can often produce some of the most provocative art practices.”
Moreover, this feminist movement became more popular when they interrupted the World Cup final by running in the middle of the field. There were three women and a man running into the field in police uniforms, and one of them gave a high five to the French soccer star, Kylian Mbappe. In the article “World Cup 2018: The Moral Clarity of Pussy Riot's Protest” the journalist Masha Gessen states that Pussy Riot came into the field with the purpose of claiming the Russian authorities to “release all political prisoners, stop illegal arrests at public rallies, allow political competition in the country, stop fabricating criminal cases and jailing people on remand for no reason.”
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