Creative Activism

It becomes important to promote the concept of “creative activism” which is to promote active youth participation, self-expression and reflections on the events they go through and/or important issues happening at the local and the international realities in a creative and an artistic way. 

For instance, anyone can “demonstrate” by using creative methods without the need to make vandalism act in order to outreach for the message she/she is advocating for. For instance, the powerful messages Banksy is able to deliver all over the world whether in his graffiti work done in most of the important cities and walls all over the world such as the apartheid wall in Palestine or to his latest work Dismaland which is a collective exhibition by a number of influential artists with a specific theme.   

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Handalla – Nagie Al-Ali

Part of an installation is pictured at 'Dismaland', a theme park-styled art installation by British artist Banksy, at Weston-Super-Mare in southwest England, Britain, August 20, 2015. REUTERS/Toby Melville TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Part of an installation is pictured at “Dismaland”a theme park styled art installation by British artist Banksy, at Weston-Super-Mare in southwest England, Britain, August 20, 2015. 

Moreover, from the Arabic region, there are a number of powerful examples for “creative activism,” such as Naji Al-Ali where until today no one is able to match his powerful messages and the eternity of his work. 

Suliman Al-Bakhit is another example of his recent project “Super Heros” which is about combating violent extremism via using comics and video games. Suliman Al-Bakhit characters are derived from the Jordanian and the Arabic reality. In addition to, Hafez Omar Hitan حيطان, a highly influential poster designer where many people in social media use his work to change their profile picture when supporting hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners for instance.

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Lastly, to mention the work of Shadi Al-Zaghgzoug where his artwork (paintings and installation) is a hybrid between reality and history where powerful messages are being conveyed. 

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Creative activism is a powerful medium/tool for supporting the causes that activists and workers in development sector are advocating for and for that there is that need to be learned, explained and to share best practices when needed to aid in mainstreaming this line of using art-based methods for sustainable development purposes. 

The need for such approaches related to “creative activism” is becoming crucial especially with what is going on in the world and to the actions to counter and to prevent hate and violent extremism from occurring. In addition to the prevailing of issue related to the lack of positive tolerance and understanding which is preventing “dialogue” from taking place. Add to that, the general sense of frustration from all the violent events leaving the general audience and communities without any mechanism of venting out all of their feelings and internal thoughts which could lead to serious acts of violence within communities. And not to forget the need (and rights) for our communities to be entertained and to have workers within the domain of culture and creative sector management who are delivering such purposeful-entertainment. By Suha Ayyash

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