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May 2005
Editorial: Art and Activism

What does art have to do with activism? Art inspires people to feel and think differently, sometimes to even be different, if only momentarily. Art is also a form of truth-telling. That’s also what activists try to do: inspire others to feel and experience truth.

Art has been part of human culture for thousands of years. Art itself has played a controversial role in society for hundreds of years with restrictive and impulsive views about the proper role of art long uniting bureaucratic squabbling and the notion that art belongs in a museum—essentially isolated where few people can see it. Art is and should be considered much more than a traditional painting, photograph; or picturesque, preconceived views of the natural world.

Focusing primarily on visual art and music—two of the only raw outlets of expression left—this issue of Satya presents a selection of activist artists who inspire, encourage and give us truth in one medium or another. Addressing both the mind and the heart, art helps cultivate a sensitive understanding of the environment, explore core values, advocate political action, and develop intellectual awareness.

In These Pages
On the cover is a fabulous hand-painted banner created especially for Satya by artist Marie Roberts, who, as readers will discover in our interview, paints the colorful banners of the unbelievable human performers of the Coney Island Circus Sideshow. We dare you not to be amazed and inspired.

In our pages we also introduce photographer Patrick Brown, whose name readers will hopefully hear more of in the coming months. His award-winning images of the Asian exotic animal trade will break your heart, and perhaps amaze and inspire you to learn more and take action.

Flip through any edition of Adbusters, and you’ll realize what radical art is all about. In this issue, meet Kalle Lasn, founder of the influential subversive magazine which utilizes graphic art to change the way we think about the world and our consumption-driven culture.

Jonah Sachs, co-founder of Free Range Graphics, the genius design firm behind the popular factory farm educational flash video The Meatrix, shares his thoughts on the visual medium in promoting social change.

We are excited to highlight the work and thoughts of environmental artist and New Yorker, Christy Rupp, whose work full of wit challenges viewers to explore the relationships between ecology and economics.

Powerful photographs from Jayne Hinds Bidaut’s Animalerie are featured which capture oppression and exploitation in pet stores.

Satya also interviews Poison’s drummer Rikki Rockett, who is not only a member of one of the most notorious hair metal bands of all time, but he’s also a producer, director, artist and, also happens to be a dedicated animal activist. That’s right, animal activist. Sex, veganism and rock ‘n’ roll? Who woulda thunk it?

All this and more are featured in these pages. We recognize that the world of art and activism is large and growing, and while we highlighted and focused on the works of a small selection of artists in this issue, we look forward to regularly featuring artists promoting change in our pages.

Join Satya staff, writers and friends on Thursday evening, May 12th, for our May issue release party. From six to nine we’ll be gathering at our favorite Brooklyn watering hole, the Gate, 321 5th Avenue on the corner of 3rd Street. Come celebrate your inner freak and creative spirit, and be sure to gape at our special Satya sideshow banners—alive and in person!

The Editors



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