The University of Arizona Museum of Art and Archive of Visual Arts

Art as Activism and Radical Acts of Care

November 19, 2020 @ 4:00 p.m.

In this virtual gallery conversation, socially-engaged artists Chip Thomas and Nicolas Lampert will discuss the role of art and artists in activism and social movements, each describing their past and current work relevant to this theme. They will also look at how art aids community building and can nurture people fighting for visibility and justice.

Photographer, street-artist, activist and physician Chip Thomas (aka Jetsonorama) has lived and worked on the Diné Nation since 1987. There he created the Painted Desert Project, a community-building effort where he installs large-scale murals in collaboration with international and local Indigenous artists. In 2020, when the Navajo Nation was suffering from one of the highest per capita rates of COVID-19, the Painted Desert Project communicated critical public health information on public facades and abandoned buildings across the territory. Thomas’ work advocates for connection, visibility and health for a community that has been disproportionately affected by not just COVID-19, but uranium mining, obesity, diabetes and suicide. You can find his work on Art Journal Open and Justseeds, a printmaking cooperative of socially engaged artists. Thomas still practices family medicine at the Inscription House Health Center in Shonto.

Nicolas Lampert is a Milwaukee-based interdisciplinary artist and author whose work focuses on themes of social justice and ecology.  He is a full-time faculty member in the Department of Art and Design at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a joint appointment in “Printmaking” and “Writing and Critical Thinking.” Lampert’s artistic practice is collectively focused on four organizations: JustseedsArt Build Workers, the National Education Association and Voces de los Artistas. His book, A People’s Art History of the United States: 250 Years of Activist Art and Artists Working in Social Justice Movements published in 2013, is part of the People’s History Series edited by Howard Zinn. Lampert’s artwork is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Library of Congress, and over sixty archives and special collections across the world.

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