Piercing the Illusion: A Culture of Political Art

[image artwork by Opal Tometi]

I’ve been deeply moved by the stories and images from the Cleveland conference that brought together over 1500 leaders spearheading the movement for black lives.

Like the catalysts for my musings on Feeding the Philanthropic Imagination, the inspirations from Cleveland provide a potent and timely example of rewriting narratives towards social transformation.

The #BlackLivesMatter slogan itself so brilliantly names both the violence towards black people that is a common daily occurrence in the social consciousness and makes a positive, pro-active statement that values lives which are far too often undervalued.

I understand there were many moments when arts and culture wove organically through conversations and panels. This photo essay, and the stories each photo represents, quickly pierces the illusion that equality of experience exists in this country. This tumblr filled with art depicts and buoys the movement, a movement which has gained strength in the wake of increased public attention to unjust deaths and brought about new memes to the centuries old resistance to racism in this country.

It is so very clear that the role of arts and culture in today’s social and political movements is essential in reimagining a world that works for all of us. I take a deep bow to the artistry of the movement for black lives and last weekend’s convening for showing us the way. We hope to follow in these inspired footsteps as we get closer to our own TWI retreat this fall.

For the first time this year, we are even more intentionally integrating arts and activism experiences into the structure of the retreat. We are confident this will influence the tenor of our time together. As a broad generalization and in my own personal lived experience, art helps to pierce through illusions and habitual thinking. Given our lifelong commitment to dialogue and critical thinking here at TWI, I look forward to sharing how our explorations in integrating arts elevates the conversations we have at our retreats.

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