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Should Artists Consider Themselves “Artivists”?

January 22, 2021

Is art political? It is, perhaps, the most vulnerable medium to express our internal and external turmoil and triumphs. In our Egyptian context, it has been used to bridge cultural identities through music, convey our unique upbringing through fashion photography, and combat harmful discourse surrounding sexual harassment in our ongoing feminist movement. So then, should artists dub themselves ‘artivists’? Artivism, the amalgamation of art and activism, might seem too “soft” or specialized a topic to some readers at first glance. For far too long, art has been associated with trivial dinner party topics, or the culture and lifestyle newspaper section that you pull out when you don’t want to read about politics. The separation of these entities, however, is questionable. In a webinar organized by Musawah (a global movement for equality and justice in Muslim family law), four game-changing artists prove this trivialization wrong. The panel consisted of homegrown Egyptian rapper/songwriter, Felukah, French singer/songwriter Azzmia, Sudanese cartoonist Alaa Satir, and Indian illustrator Sonaksha. The webinar revolved around the pressing questions of how art can be used as a tool for social change, whether or not artists consciously negotiate their activist…

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