Social Justice Art Projects

In years prior, the art classes of Mount De Sales focused heavily on producing structurally impressive work-craftsmanship before creativity. But as of late, art teacher Eileen Clements has established a new nucleus around which her students must revolve: thought-provoking, socially intuitive projects that not only push the artists’ skills, but also their ingenuity.
“I want you all to come up with something that challenges people when they see it,” preached Clements to her students.
The most recent collection of provocative pieces attends to the concept of the four American Freedoms previously depicted by artist Norman Rockwell in 1943: freedom from fear, freedom to worship, freedom of speech, and freedom from want. Rockwell painted his pieces in response to President Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms State of the Union Address, which stated that human rights should be universally protected. The pieces, appearing to be everyday scenes, are intended to be looked at more closely with the thought of that particular freedom which it addresses in mind. Likewise, Clements hoped her pupils would also be so clever in replicating the theme with contemporary concepts-she was certainly not disappointed. Pieces from her classes ranged from positive to negative ideas, some of which depicting racially diverse hands gathering an abundance of rice or water, and some making statements about the injustice of racist or sexist violence in America.
“This project is socially confrontational and I like it,” declares Emma Greene, ’15. “I it excites people who walk by it. I want it to make them them feel something.”

-F. Reed, ’15

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