“The function of art is to do more than tell it like it is – it’s to imagine what is possible.” – bell hooks
What is “artivism” and why should it matter? In Chapter 10, Rodney Diverlus helps our readers better understand the concept of “artivism,” or art + activism; or “activism through art.”
An independent, Canada-based dancer, choreographer, and community organizer, Diverlus introduces, deconstructs, and dissects the concept of “artivism” and explains its manifestations, purposes, and social values. While recognizing the need for abstract, personal, form-driven, and curiosity-driven art making, Diverlus argues for the universal application of artivism, for a symbiotic relationship between art and activism. Diverlus investigates art makers as agents of social change, explains the juxtapositions of personal and political art, and argues for the importance of dance as a tool of communal engagement. Additionally, he proposes that arts educators radicalize arts-based education as a way of introducing artivism to students and emerging artists.
For Diverlus, artivism is both a vision and a call to action. It is a continuation of the age-old question: Why create?
Here, see Diverlus’ collaborative work excerpted from The Spectrum Project’s “(de)liberate”; A queer- themed dance theatre show on negotiating space, our bodies, and communal existence.