Discussing racism and identity through ART

Fri, 07, 20

As a child in Afghanistan, artist Behnaz Babazadeh grew up wearing a traditional headscarf....


“Giant Picnic” by the artist JR is a public art installation set across the US-Mexico border. Looking up from the table are the eyes of “dreamer” Mayra, whose mother had come to America decades earlier when Mayra was just a toddler. At the Picnic, people on both sides of the border wall talked and shared food through the slats, and Mayra’s mother publicly shared her immigration story for the first time. JR’s larger-than-life public installations spotlight (and humanize) vulnerable communities from around the world.

Sanford Biggers uses painting, sculpture, video and performance to spark challenging but important conversations about the history and trauma of Black people in the United States. To make this statue — titled BAM, For Michael — Biggers bought wooden African figures from a tourist shop, took them to a gun range and re-sculpted them using bullets. Finally, he created a mold from the fragments and cast them in bronze. This work is part of a larger series about police violence against Black people.

As a child in Afghanistan, artist Behnaz Babazadeh grew up wearing a traditional headscarf. But when her family moved to the US, she faced discrimination because of it. Today, Babazadeh wants to challenge the misconceptions about burkas and headscarfs as objects to be feared or symbols of oppression. To spark this conversation, she began taking self-portraits while wrapped in sweets to force people to question their beliefs.

Representation never tasted so sweet. Trailblazing Asian and Pacific Islander Americans, like rapper-actress Awkwa-fina, are memorialized in sugar and butter in this cookie portrait series from baker Jasmine Cho. As the child of Korean immigrants growing up in Los Angeles, Cho was never taught about prominent Asian Americans in school and never saw them in the media, so she felt like part of a largely ignored community. She hopes her eye-catching baked goods can help rectify that

British street artist Banksy has posted an anti-racism artwork on his Instagram as part of the black lives matter movement – inspired by the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020. The event sparked waves of demonstrations across the country as well as in cities across the globe, protesting as one against racism and police violence against minorities. Banksy’s anti-racism piece depicts a scene of a vigil, where a single candle’s flame has begun to slowly burn the American flag above. along with the post, the British artist shared a message of support for black lives matter.

Compiled by SG