Art is a universal language for us to share our voices, tell our stories, and act as a medium for change. Here at ARTE, we aim to emphasize the power of art and invite you to do the same
The Create Art for Change Art Contest asked young artists, ages 13-18, to submit a visual art piece that focuses on a social issue that matters to them. Through their artwork, we asked artists to explore a specific issue (e.g. climate change, human rights, systematic racism, gender inequity, etc.), reflect on how that social issue affects them and their communities, honor an activist, or propose actions and solutions for change.
The contest was judged by members of ARTE's Junior Board.
Congratulations, artists, and thank you again for sharing your work with us!
Prisms by Mary Hendrix (she/her, 17)
This piece is entitled Prisms. It is a 16” x 20” oil painting. This piece was inspired by an image I took of my friend’s brother. I wanted to make a piece exploring the queer experience.
The masculine subject is shown rubbing makeup off with an ambiguously sad expression. This is meant to highlight the strict gender norms and expectations that are upheld in society, particularly through homophobia. This issue is important to me because I have seen first-hand how this issue can manifest itself and I have experienced the consequences of it. The colorful makeup on the subject is further intended to convey this message.
The cool color palette also conveys a more somber tone in the painting. I wanted to highlight this issue to bring awareness to the queer/LGBTQIA+ experience and really flesh out the effects homophobia can have on a person’s wellbeing, when they simply yearn to be themselves.
financial ignorance by Filipp Molokov (he/him, 15)
A problem that I encounter a lot in my life and is expressed in my friends and my family is financial ignorance.
In school we’re learning topics like how to distinguish which rocks are igneous and which are sedimentary, but no one starts a conversation about how to make money and how to use it wisely.
Even after I asked so many teachers about how to earn from my art, they can’t help me understand finances more or how to sell or get profit from my artworks.
My piece is inspired by a book, “The Richest Man in Babylon” by George S. Clason, and my collage shows popular society’s issues from the book — people just eat their money (shown as a man eating a burger in the foreground of the artwork) and humans pay everyone but themselves (depicted in advertisements of things people buy that they don’t really need in the background).
Need for Liberation by Abigail Khazan (she/her, 15)
The social issue that I chose was LGBTQ+ rights, on the American activist Marsha P. Johnson.
The issue of the lack of LGBTQ+ rights is important to me because people of the community have been fighting for their rights for many years, but have still not received the basic rights they have been fighting for. It’s not fair that this issue isn’t talked about in schools as much as it should be.
Marsha P. Johnson was a kind soul who spent many years fighting for her rights and has paved the way for transgender people to feel more safe today. In 2015, it was made legal for gay marriage to be legal in the United States, which was only 7 years ago.
There are many more changes that should be accomplished in the future to protect more LGBT+ people, especially children.
Mamie Till-Mobley in Color by Shuxin Li (she/her, 17)
My artwork is titled Mamie Till-Mobley in Color. It is a portrait of Mamie Till-Mobley, a prominent civil rights activist and mother of Emmet Till.
When Emmet was 14, he was kidnapped and brutally murdered after being falsely accused of harassing a white woman named Carolyn Bryant. After his body was recovered, Mamie decided to have an open-casket funeral for him, bringing the public face to face with the reality of deep-rooted racism in America. Determined to prevent similar incidents from happening to others, Mamie dedicated much of her life to civil rights activism.
With this portrait, I decided to only use two colors: blue-the color associated with sorrow and mourning, and yellow-the color of optimism and the promise of a better tomorrow. When mixed, they create the color green-representative of growth, balance, and hope. I believe these colors help illustrate Mamie Till-Mobley’s story and the future she worked towards through her activism.
By Che-harazaan Berry (she/her, 17)
When creating this piece I wanted to make a work that spoke about cultural appropriation. So often the creations of black women are looked down upon and then later appropriated by white women claimed to be their own creations and called the new latest “trends.” Often we forget where the current “trends” we follow came from. Things that were created and associated with black culture in the past are being commonly stolen and appropriated by white individuals who are claiming it as their own, we have seen many examples of this in Kim Kardashian’s “boxer braids,” or Hailey Bieber “brownie glazed donut lip,” or just acrylic nails, vivacious hairstyles with lots of colors, stacked jewelry things that when the black community had done it were considered “ghetto,” are things we now say are trendy and cool, without giving the black women of the past the appreciation they deserve.
This piece is a memorial to them almost to give them the appreciation they deserve to show that black is beautiful, and “ghetto” as they used to call it is not a trend, ghetto is beautiful. It is not fair for everyone to want to be black, but then never support or give black creators the appreciation they deserve. As a young black woman myself I have seen this first hand and simply wished to show that black is beautiful, black is creative, we are Trendsetters.