A DIY (do it yourself) art movement is spreading in opposition to the capitalist trends of the “high art” realm. It’s a movement that kindles idealistic hopes for the possibilities of art, even amid the reality of the contemporary art world’s elitism and market-driven nature.
Many DIY artists and collectives are functioning on local, community levels to create projects that benefit the communities in which they are working. Richard Shilling is a fine example of one of these DIY artists.
Artist David Hewson, whose beautiful work has appeared in Tikkun on several occasions, has contacted us about an environmental and social crisis in Peru receiving little American media coverage. Hewson has spent the past two years living in Peru working with a shaman on a series of paintings surrounding the myths of indigenous groups in the Amazon. Through his residency in Peru, Hewson has witnessed some of the harm being done to the sacred jungle of the Amazon and its inhabitants. Peruvian President Alan Garcia and his government have alleviated many sanctions on gas and oil companies working in the Amazon. With increased access to previously protected areas, these companies have created dangerous health conditions for the indigenous groups of the Amazon, including high lead and cadmium levels found in their blood and river contamination. In 2009 many indigenous groups united to form a blockade and protest the government’s support of oil and gas companies in the Amazon. It resulted in violence, and between 30 and 100 deaths of indigenous people and police officers (photo).
Paul McAuley, a British, lay Catholic missionary who has lived in Peru for more than 20 years, has recently been ordered to leave. The Peruvian government is trying to expel him from the country on charges of risk to “the security of the state, public order and the national defense.” His deportation order is being appealed.
Eleven-year-old Olivia Bouler was horrified by news of the foul oil smearing across the gulf. Her first thought: birds, her favorite animal. Her second thought: how to help them.
Visit Tikkun Daily’s Art Gallery for more images Michael Ferris Jr.’s sculptures.
Most religions have long traditions of incorporating artwork into their practice: glass-stained windows, tapestries, paintings, sculptures, and statuary in temples are just some of the many forms. This bond between art-making and spiritual practice is clear in the work of Michael Ferris Jr., whose wood sculptures translate individuals into iconic and ambiguous monuments. He says:
When I work on these pieces I have my own personal, spiritual feelings. I get in touch with whatever that is, it’s a bit of a mystery, and I let it be a mystery.
Visit Tikkun Daily’s Art Gallery for more images of the “Welcome” installation.
Three thousand plastic cups, water, and food coloring. This, Murat Musulluoglu tells me, is how “Welcome” is made. The project took place in various public parks in New York City, and Musulluoglu tells me he intended it to be collaborative:
Here, the space between the art, the artist and the public gets eliminated. The work brings everyone together. The initial work is a stage for people to initiate new relationships and to break down boundaries between people. It is a collective process that will be executed in public space.
To see more of C215′s work, visit the Tikkun Daily Art Gallery.
Christian Guémy is a French graffiti artist known to the public as “C215″ who has garnered some fame for his intricate, colorful stencil works. His works attempt a revitalization of street imagery: they are bright portraits of children, the homeless, religious figures, or other everyday people. For today’s cities, the urban landscape is a battleground of ideas, ownership, and residents. The streets of modern cities are besieged with advertisements, private apartments, restaurants, stores, graffiti scribbling, and people from all walks of life.
But what happens to the spirit in the mechanized world of commercial city living? When one walks the streets, the all-encompassing marketplace — both social and economic — can be detrimental to the individualism it aims to liberate. There is a routine, a mode of traveling the streets in which one is not fully awake. We are taught to eliminate vulnerabilities for fear of danger, to keep to ourselves, and maintain anonymity. The guise of “safety,” a lesson from the political realm, allows us to disenfranchise, dehumanize, and suppress our unique, spiritual selves.