Ariella Aronstam-Powers Humanities and Social Science
Artistic Protest: Oakland's Legacy of Radical Art Practice
The interplay of art and politics historically holds a distinct role in the City of Oakland, California. Since the 1960s, social activism has shaped and informed political art practices. Further, aesthetics and intertextuality continue to engage the issues of race, police brutality and economic marginalization as motifs and discourses for Oakland artists. Through primary and secondary archival sources, interviews, and participant observation, my project investigates how political art practices in Oakland operate as a context and product for social justice and community empowerment. I am looking at the work of two Oakland artists: Emory Douglas, the Black Panthers Minister of Culture, and Jon-Paul Bail, a local political screen printer. I examine theses two artists motifs as case studies of the larger portrait of Oaklands legacy of art and activism.