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  • Writer's pictureTeam ARTE

ARTE Student Voices: Jorley, 17

Each month, we will attempt to highlight the profiles of some of our remarkable student leaders participating in ARTE. While the artistic work of some of our students is impressive, their perceptiveness in understanding the complexity of human rights issues and interest in learning more about violations in their own community and abroad is incredibly inspiring.

Last fall, Jorley was a student in our ARTE class at the Pan American International High School in Elmhurst, Queens. While she was born in New York City, she was raised in Venezuela for a good portion of her life. She self-identifies as an artist and music lover, enjoying portraiture and the singerLana Del Ray. In the future, she hopes to study video production and sees herself as a video game designer and a drawing and figure artist.

Jorley believes that everyone is equal and that we all need equality because we are all human beings. While in class, she was especially drawn to the work of La Mala Rodriguez, a Spanish hip-hop artist who often focuses on bringing attention to the rights of women. Jorley told us that often times, men are classified as being “better than women” in hip-hop, but that the skills of La Mala Rodriguez demonstrate otherwise. Despite the discrimination that women all over the world experience, Jorley believes that artists like La Mala Rodriguez can show the world that women are equal to men and deserve equal pay for equal work.

During another unit in the class, she and her peers learned more about Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer rights. Jorley shared that this unit was especially important and relevant to her own life, as she had experienced discrimination based on her sexual orientation from friends in Venezuela who did not accept her because she is bisexual. She was told that being gay was “against her religion” and was deeply hurt when her friends would not accept her for who she was.  For Jorley, in order to love and respect a person, their sex should not matter, but rather their personality and if they are a good person.

When asked how art can be used as a tool to bring awareness to human rights issues, Jorley shared with us that a picture can represent so many ideas and feelings without any words. Pictures make it easier for people to digest information, and she believes art helps pique the curiosity of individuals to become more informed. She mentioned that a poster consisting of art or drawing is more likely to capture her interest than one with a lot of words or writing. For Jorley, the art draws her in and inspires her to try to decipher the message that the artist is trying to convey. Jorley notices that this technique is used throughout the media, for both good and bad, citing tobacco advertisements as a way to get people to learn about something. However, Jorley believes that through art, we can create and share messages about human rights in order to make positive change in the world. Given Jorley’s compassion, raw talent, and thoughtfulness exhibited this past semester with ARTE, we have no doubt that she will go on to do just that.

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