ART + ACTIVISM with MARTY CHAN, KRISTEN HUTCHINSON, DAWN MARIE MARCHAND, AARON PAQUETTE, AND MATTHEW STEPANIC (MF GALAXY 117)
IS ALL ART IS POLITICAL? SHOULD YOU EVER INSULT YOUR OWN AUDIENCE? CAN YOU SURVIVE SOCIAL MEDIA AS A SOCIAL ARTIST? THE MOST SURPRISING ACT OF PROTEST
Art and activism—should they be friends? Hanging together like Kirk and Spock, Crockett and Tubbs, or Laverne and Shirley? Or should they be enemies like Luke Cage and Cotton Mouth, Avatar Aang and the Fire Lord, or Donald Trump and most of humanity?
Some people say that art and politics should never mix. Other people say that they always mix—but that people only protest those politics when they disagree with them. So if that’s true, what happens to society when people who define themselves as advocates and activists combine their views and ideas with their novels, paintings, plays, and more?
Those are questions that novelist SG Wong wanted answered. Wong is the inaugural featured writer of Capital City Press, a venture by the Edmonton Public Library. Wong is the creator of the Lola Starke hardboiled detective series set in Crescent City, California, in an alternate history in which China colonised North America. She’s also an Arthur Ellis Award-finalist and a tireless organiser in Edmonton’s literary scene. On March 27, 2017 Wong and the Edmonton Public Library convened a panel to discuss art and activism.
- Kristen Hutchinson is an artist, independent curator, art historian, interior designer, and lecturer at the University of Alberta.
- Matthew Stepanic is a poet and an editor at the Glass Buffalo and Eighteen Bridges literary journals, at the Tanner Young Publishing Group and at Where Edmonton magazine.
- Dawn Marie Marchand is the Indigenous Artist in Residence for the City of Edmonton, and hails from the Cold Lake First Nation.
- Aaron Paquette is a novelist, painter, speaker, and former federal candidate for the New Democratic Party
- Marty Chan is a playwright, screenwriter, radio humourist, and YA writer.
In this episode of MF Galaxy, they discuss:
- Their definitions of and experience with experience activism
- What it means to say art is political
- The value of reflecting to audiences who they are
- Why one artist was about to quit painting forever, and what horrifying experience transformed him to the artist he is today
- The role of social media among social artists
- How editors can change the conversation about art and artists, and
- The surprising thing that is an act of protest
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