Art of Protest: Creating, Discovering, and Activating Art for Your Revolution

Big Picture/Candlewick/. Nov. 2021. 80p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781536223255.
Gr 6-10–Artivist De Nichols collaborates with four other artists to create a gorgeous tribute to art as a medium of social protest. Equal parts autobiography, instruction manual, and history book, this volume focuses on how art has been used in recent protests, including the 2014 Ferguson Uprising where De Nichols was the arts organizer on the ground. The author details the different types of art forms that can be used as a response to injustice: street art, public performance, music, photography, and poetry, among others. The book includes a time line of various moments in which art was integrated as part of a protest—from Francisco Goya in 19th-century Spain to anti-government rallies in Brazil in 2015. Scattered throughout are suggestions for young people on how they can use art to rally against oppressive forces. This heavily designed and illustrated work is striking, with a variety of art styles on display—collage, screen printing, woodcutting, painting. However, some readers might find the constant switching of media, tone, and subjects jarring. Spreads on typography and design are fascinating but impede the narrative flow of this mostly historical work. The volume concludes with an overview of youth-led movements, including the Parkland students and young climate activists. Portraits and short bios of some of these young leaders making an impact will inspire teens to make a difference themselves.
VERDICT Arresting images, valuable insights and practical applications, and an empowering message make this a highly recommended purchase for art and social studies curricula and displays.

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