Art and Social Justice

Learn how artwork of the artist of reference Adolf Hölzel connects to topics of social justice

Example of stepping into Relational Empathy through embodied receptive-active Arts Engagment

Choosing one of Adolf Hölzel's art pieces as reference picture for a watercolor study, the motive of the reference picture turned out to be historical, political and ethical relevant

The reference picture spoke to me through the dynamic tension between space and no space shown in different sections of the artwork (spacious straight lines versus densed curvy lines)

View the original reference picture Adolf Hölzel, "Glas Window Design, o. J.", ©Courtesy Collection LBBW, Photo: Volker Nauman

Example I

Sketching the densed curved lines I felt a strong body sense of unease. There was a feeling of contraction in the guts. This gut feeling was a door opener to get in touch with Relational Empathy

The gut feeling reminded me of the Felt Sense I had during the influx of Syrian refugees and Ukraine war survivors in 2016 and 2022. People came with trains, busses and private car convoys and on foot. For to survive they had to squeeze their bodies into overcrowded rolling rescue spaces in ways that had been inhuman. Views of refugee documentations of 2016 and 2022 became vivid to my inner eye. I could feel the state of "being squeezed in" physically. This physical feeling opened up to a bodily awareness of the existential of the 2016 und 2022 refugee collective

Watercolor sketch following the reference picture of Adolf Hölzel ("Glas Window Design, o.J.")

Creative Compassion - Art and Social Justice Example I

Example II

Doing a second watercolor sketch I realized that space or no space is THE category of survival. It reveals who can make it and who cannot make it and is left behind

The artistic motive of straight and curvy lines and the political motive of bodies squeeezing into rescue places connects to one of the art pieces of Jacob Lawrence: The Migration Series, Panel 23, The Migration spread

Original Art Work of Jacob Lawrence, depicting how Afroamericans tried to get on the trains up north during the Great Migration

Jacob Lawrence, The Migration Series, Panel 23, 1940-41, Casein tempera on hardboard, 12 x 18 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, Acquired 1942

Creative Compassion - Art ad Social Justice Example II

The trauma of refugee experience and migration is a collective experience. In my examples aesthetic empathy was the door opener to the categoy of no space as an existential of the marginalized. This category is implemented in the collective body of human mankind. To get a taste of it, embodied receptive-active arts engagement with abstract reference material from artist Hölzel was key

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