Diversity of motivations, injustices reflected in art
An essential part to protests, including the recent Women’s March, is signs — many of which are artistic. The artist’s ability to deliver impactful, relevant messages in limited space where so many other posters are also trying to be considered is impressive. This bred signs to be laughed at, to be warmed by and to agree with. For those who missed it, the following is a small recap of some of those proudly raised pieces of art.
First up, second-year art studio major Thao Uyen Nguyen drew on her sign the profile of a woman with watercolor flowers on the top of her head that replaced her hair. Below the woman read, “Let equality bloom,” with the word “equality” on a multicolored ribbon and the word “bloom” in cursive. Nguyen’s talents shine through the poster, grabbing attention.
“Yeah there’s a couple that really liked it,” Nguyen said. “They come up and take pictures.”
She was inspired to do something not as politically affiliated and instead focused on creating a message that was uplifting.
“I was trying to find something that more empowered women instead of just making fun of Trump, so I searched up some Women’s March art,” Nguyen said. “I saw this one where it’s just a silhouette of a face […] and I really like flowers so from that I kinda just [did] my own thing.”
In colorful block letters, Joshua Mitchell, a marcher at the event, wrote “HATE IS NOT AN AMERICAN VALUE” and had glitter in splotches all around it with some plastic flowers and beads scattered at the bottom. He was inspired by the current presidential administration when creating his poster on a wine night with his friend, who also joined him at the march.
“We were trying to think […] what speaks to us,” Mitchell said. “‘Hate is not an American value’ — that is something I’ve been telling myself often. I feel that it [hate] is reflected a lot in the current administration, and that is why I am here to protest against hateful or bigoted policies.”
First-year friends Chanapa Mann, a biological sciences major, and Andrea Gonzalez, a design major, bought their poster materials at the Memorial Union in preparation for their first protesting experience. Mann ended up creating a side profile of a woman in pink with the words “WOMEN’S RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS” and the venus symbol in her hair. Gonzalez was motivated to positively twist the “Make America Great Again” slogan and decided to write “WE ARE WHAT MAKES AMERICA GREAT” in red letters on a pink background.
Denise Farinsky, an artist and former art teacher, made a two-sided poster. One side featured her own work — a black-and-white sketch of Princess Leia with the word “RESIST” layered on top of her on red paper. The other side featured a print-out by artist Shepard Fairey, which was offered for free, along with four others to choose from, to everyone participating in the march. The one Farinsky chose was of a Latina woman with a rose in her hair and the caption “WE THE PEOPLE DEFEND DIGNITY” because of Farinsky’s personal ties to the community.
“I’m a Mexican-American,” Farinsky said. “My mom’s Mexican, and I feel really strongly about all races not being discriminated against, but especially [a race] this close to my heart. I think it is ridiculous building a wall. Most recently, the father who got deported and was torn away from his family and children […] I think is horrible, so that’s why I picked this [Fairley’s art] for this side.”
As to her own display of Princess Leia, Farinsky’s inspiration stems from Carrie Fisher herself, Princess Leia representing, to her, a figure against the way Trump demeans women and makes them sexual objects.
“I always, as a young girl, thought Princess Leia was an awesome symbolic character in Star Wars because she was the first strong woman I ever saw on screen,” Farinsky said. “She’d take care of business without a guy. She didn’t need to be saved. She would tell Darth Vader what she thought. She didn’t really care.”
Written by: Cecilia Morales — firstname.lastname@example.org