Dreamers & Doers is a new series here on Sunday Blossoms & a twice-monthly mailing you can get sent right to yer inbox. This space is for creatives to find inspiration, support and encouragement to make their dreams a reality. Written + curated by Amina Ahmad, a creative dreamer / doer crafting through life in & around Washington, DC.
Activism and Art have always been closely tied together. In the social media age, I think we think of art as being more commercial than we have in the past. Commercial generally leans toward non-offensive. Art, however, does not.
Recently, artist / illustrator / hand letterer / author Lisa Congdon wrote about how her followers sometimes complain that they just want to see the pretty pictures and not be bothered with her political views. Her response: "My views have been shaped by my experience — as a woman and a lesbian, for example — just like your experiences shape your views."
Our experiences affect our views.
Our views + experiences affect our reality.
Our reality affects our work.
Don't worry about making people uncomfortable with your perspective. But at the same time, we must also remember to step outside our own comfort zones and welcome others' views that may make us a little uncomfortable. Because while all art may not resonate with our own realities, all voices need to be heard, particularly for communities with historically less visible experiences.
"While I have lost many, many followers over the past months (especially in the past weeks [post-inauguration]), I am incredibly heartened by the support that the vast majority of my following (and it’s going strong) have expressed for my activism and my activist artwork. I think most of my followers do see me as a whole human being — they want to see me as a whole human being. They like knowing where I stand, and where they stand in relationship to me." - Lisa Congdon
Likewise, but in a completely separate world, artist and founder of Black Girl in Om, Lauren Ash, created her platform to specifically create space for women of color to explore self-care and wellness. She says "I think that it’s just astonishing that you still look at advertisements and walk into a yoga space and will still be surprised if you see yourself represented. That is really crazy."
Everything does not have to be for everyone.
Sometimes, creating work tailored to your particular view can be the more important + inspiring path to follow.
“In our work and in our living, we must recognize that difference is a reason for celebration and growth, rather than a reason for destruction.” – Audre Lorde
Our perspectives need to be shared. As a multicultural millennial woman, I know my pure existence is a full-time representation of my community / my politics / my perspective. But as an artist / a maker / a writer / a doer, I get to share that with the world.
And you do too.
Advice from Lisa Congdon
What has become more important to me, and the main point I want to make here, is living my truth, expressing myself as a whole person — not just someone who makes pretty pictures — is more important to me. Here’s how I put it to the woman who publicly proclaimed she was unfollowing me and all artist/activists: “I am not on this planet to please everyone or make everyone feel comfortable. I am here to share my art and my experience and to be a voice for what I believe in.”
INSPIRED BY: Miss Chelove's mural series in Pakistan / #MagnetsofCreativity
READING: In the Company of Women by Grace Bonney
BIZ TRIX: DC area friends, Washingtonian magazine is rounding up women-owned businesses for A Day Without Women. Contact info to list your biz is through the link.