When we think about an Artist or Art, we thinking of paintings, drawings, and artists like Picasso or Monet; we don't think about spoken word artists like Porsha O whose done moving pieces on the American Dream, Stereotypes, and my favorite Capitalism.
An artist is someone who engages, expresses, and demonstrates the art of all kinds whether through dance, music, spoken word, all forms of writings, paintings, and more. So in case, our list will consist of artists who used their platforms to "voice" their views on taboo subjects such as Mental Health, Sex, Sexuality, Domestic Violence, and etc
1. Yoko Ono, Being A Woman Visually
Did you know? In 1965, Yoko starred in a one-woman play (Cut Pieces) where she invited the audience to cut pieces of her clothing. The premise: To explain/express/speak on the issues of sexually objectifying women, she also filmed a documentary about Rape and even today, speaks on issues of women's health, sexual assault, and the objection of the female body.
This year, she's collaborating with Reykjavik Art Museum on a piece called Arising, the focus: The Harms Done To You For Being A Woman (Opens in October). She's looking for submissions!
2. Tsoku Maela: Expressing Race, Gender, and Mental Illness On Paint
In general, mental illness is taboo subject within a taboo subject: Dependant on race, gender, economic status; including your country of origin. Tsoku Maela a South African Artist explores all this and more in his art series Abstract Peaces. His goal: To destigmatize mental illness in the Black Community in South Africa and around the globe.
3. Audre Lorde,Gender, Race, and Sexuality Through Poetry and Other Forms of Writing
Audre Lorde is an artist who embodied life, spoke on issues that dealt with sexual orientation, race, oppression, and femininity; always questioning and asking others to question social norms. She expressed here views on paper and through her voice she's also known for her writings in Sister Outsider, a collection of dialogues/essays/writings that challenges heterosexism, what it means to be a woman, black, and a lesbian.
Artist like Audre make you think of society, their art is sometimes a reflection of what society is, was, or should be or in this case shouldn't be. Her voice and writings allowed the reader to go beyond the book and to "forcefully" remove the limitations society may have placed on them and redefine taboo subjects.
4. AutoStraddle and Writers of The Trans and Feminist Experience
Autostraddle is compiled of artist (of all backgrounds), but in this case, they use their platform to expand other platforms:
Finding artist-writers, musicians, and etc who've dealt with the experiences they write or sing or portray in imagery can sometimes be hard because of the lack of "wanted" representation in certain industries, but it's still important to get their voices and messages out there which is why having a platform like Femsplain, Mogul, and more is important. This August, AutoStraddle collected a list of 48 Queer and Feminist Books To Add To Your Reading List of amazing individuals who've written about their experiences and experiences of other's in their community
Recommendations from a friend: Superwomen: Gender, Power, and Representation by Carolyn Cocca (it's been added to my list of things to read)
There are many other artists using their platform to speaking on diverse issues that we deemed taboo for example, Vic Mensa uses his music to speak about Black Youth and Police Brutality, the women at MightyOak use digital storytelling to inspire women from around the globe, T. Lang and her Dance company use motion to speak on topics of slavery, and even the anonymous Tumblr user Centipedes uses their artwork to express issues on mental health, gender, and oppression. I hope they continue to use their platform to educate, break stigmas, and inspire other individuals to do the same.
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