Art is a tool for personal transformation, there’s no doubt.
It is also a tool we can use to point towards the times we live in as a community.
Art can raise awareness and it can give the participants something to digest – effecting transformation on a larger scale.
It isn’t enough that we do our our internal anti-racism work on the quiet or in private.
If we are in a privileged position to take time to make art to help heal ourselves, then we are obliged to use our privilege to also speak up in support of those whose voices (and bodies) continue to be oppressed.
‘Mandalartivism’ is a term I coined a couple of years ago when I came up with an idea for a mandala art challenge to take place in May – the month of the May Day/Labour Day protests.
It is directly inspired by Betsy Greer’s term ‘craftivism’ and the book ‘How to be a Craftivist : The art of gentle protest’ by Sarah Corbett.
I want at least some of the art I make to contribute to collective transformation in a more direct way but I still haven’t found the time to put that challenge into action.
This latest round of world-wide protests against racism reminds me that I am obligated not to be silent, no matter how much other work there is to do and how many other things I wish to protest.
It’s been almost two years since I wrote this blogpost and I remember how I was moved to commit to a life-long program of anti-racism education for myself and those around me.
I also wanted to decolonise my own work in the world and have tried to be reasonably consistent on both of these fronts but there is still SO much work I need to do.
What I have definitely not done since 2018 is to be vocal. I have taken my foot off the pedal and beyond the post I typed out on the beach back in 2018, I’ve been silent and any work I’ve done has been in private.
I have not used my ‘platform’ to amplify the voices and work of the many People of Colour who spend their lives fighting for change and educating folk like myself who profess to be good allies.
And it is most definitely time for folk like me to give way to those people whose voices need to be heard.
But what I can do is point towards their work and use my art as a vehicle for change.
This is why the next Patreon Live Ceilidh is a gathering where we will dedicate our mandala-making specifically to the anti-racism message, with an action to share it beyond our own community.
The ceilidh will be a live event held online for Clans Adder, Deer + Beastie* on Sunday 12th July at 6pm BST. (click on the date to check your timezone.)
*recordings available afterwards for Clans Deer + Beastie.
Not a member of Patreon? There’s still time for you to join us by joining one of the Clans. A proportion of July’s pledges will be donated to organisations actively involved in anti-racism work here in the UK and USA (details on organisations and the amounts donated will be published on Patreon at the beginning of August after July’s pledges are processed on 1st August.)
Transformation is also component in grief healing, along with connectivity and “the performance of a lifetime.”