Protest Artists

Over the years more and more artists have used there influence within their discipline to produce pieces of protest art. From recently looking more into the political painting Guernica by Picasso, I started to understand the power of these pieces, and how they could be seen a leverage to a particular cause, or view point. From the likes of Banksy to groups like Pussy Riot or the Guerrilla Girls, they all have a clear message which they put across, using a different mediums to get their voices heard.

One group called Adbusters,  of which I really engage with their pieces, they are clever adaptations of existing companies. Their message to the world is to stop unnecessary consumerism. They have held many protests over the years, they state that “Adbusters is a not-for-profit magazine fighting back against the hostile takeover of our psychological, physical and cultural environments by commercial forces.” I find their work effective. Does make you stop and think.


More of their work can be found at

On the opposite end of the scale Pyotr Pavlensky is a ‘Living Pain’ Artist from Russia, his work is very in your face and often quite disturbing. It makes me cringe looking at some of the photos of his work, all of which has had plenty of media coverage. He has broken the mould of political art, taking it to a whole new level.

A lot of his work relates to freedom of speech surrounding Russian policies within the government. He is now facing three years in prison for burning doors of the headquarters of Russian Federal Security. He blurs the boundaries between art and his anti-Kremlin views, he sets himself apart from other similar artists by making weakness central to his work.

JR – Face2Face project in Gaza from 2007, is an illegal photography exhibition put up in the streets of conflict around the city. Produced by two french street artists JR and Marco, they placed portraits of Israelis and Palestine people in large formats. The portraits are somewhat humorous, trying to show the humanity of each person even though they were on different political sides. They try to bridge the separation between their religion and nationality. I really like the organic feel of these photographic portraits.


Such a lovely idea, that gave the conflict in Gaza a more human feel to it.

With the rise of more and more protests going on around the world, the protest billboards have become piece of art themselves. They are such simple pieces of work, adorning the protestor’s gripe with the current situation. With the most recent demonstrations against the Trump administration, which have been broadcast around the world, have made quite an impact. The two below are two photos that I took from Facebook this week.

The two links below are articles which I found really interesting, taken from the online  magazine Creative Review. Particularly John Comino-James photography which documents protest which have happened over the past ten years. There are some really great images within the article, highlighting the impact of these protests which have taken place in the UK.  The thing I think that I find particularly engaging  and effective about the protest boards is that they are so quickly made without much thought to how its is going to look, but thinking about what the message is that they want to get across. tumblr_nyn16elets1s9t9owo1_500

There is so many artist that I could write about but the ones above are the ones that particularly stood out to myself when I was researching. You could say that all art is political, as the art is usually the artist reaction to something that they feel passionate about. They can serve as powerful political weapons, have become a potent language to speak against various forms of oppression and persisting inequalities regarding gender, race or class.