Artivism: Activism through Art on Instagram

Change is such a powerful word, encompassing both terror and beauty in equal measures. When art attempts to capture change, it is a picture to behold.

Art has found new expression in its easy access to audiences worldwide through thriving digital platforms like Instagram. Artists, activists and thinkers have taken to the digital revolution and turned it on its head by revolutionalising the digital space. Our worlds have just grown bigger, brighter, and more beautiful.
Amidst the many works by “artivists “, we came across a few campaigns that are leaving a mark on the hearts of Instagrammers world over. One such Instagram account belongs to Delphine Diallo who works towards representing the inner strength of female identities which she captures in her art. The idea that women have influence over other women such that one’s power can ignite courage in another is a powerful channel of thought that she captures beautifully in her photographs.

“Through portraits of women from all walks of life, the patriarchal backlash growing worldwide can be countered. The project demonstrates how inner confidence and individual courage can be lifted through a collective, allowing each woman regardless of race, class, sexual orientation, nationality, to recognize her influence on other women, known and unknown”—Delphine Diallo

Another Instagram account, that of Ken McFarlane, looks to reclaim representations of black communities in his artistry. The idea that black is beautiful is yet to find itself sinking into the minds of most, including black individuals themselves. The cultural oppression of centuries has left generations of African- American natives struggling to find beauty in their own identities. This is something that Ken seeks to change.

“My goal is really to open new windows of opportunity so that new heroes and heroines can be known.” —Ken McFarlane

Rupi Kaur, an Instapoet, was in the limelight for posting a picture in which she is seen lying on a bed with menstrual blood stained sheets, she now uses her account to remind her 1.5 million followers that they, and no one else, has a right to comment on their bodies.

“If you are not enough for yourself you will never be enough for someone else.” —Rupi Kaur

Instagram itself has taken commendable steps on its platform to create a positive culture that encourages more users to share bits of their lives through the #KindComments initiative. This initially began by supporting the LGBTQ community during the Pride month with stickers designed by LGBTQ artists and exclusive filters. This has gone on now to create such positive spaces for everyone.

“The theme of #KindComments is meant to encourage our communities to consciously think about how they can do their bit to keep Instagram a kind and positive place for everyone. “When we were approached with the idea of bringing #KindComments to life we wanted to create a piece of art which would leave people feeling happy, with a message of kindness which they can pass on to others in their lives and online. In a world filled with so much chaos, conflict and hatred, messages of peace, equality and positivity are extremely important.

Anyone can be a part of the #KindComments movement – all they have to do is share an Instagram post of something meaningful and uplifting, share a kind comment with their friends, or leave a positive comment on someone else’s post; and sit back and watch the positivity spread from one person to the next,” says Tara Bedi, Public Policy and Community Outreach, Instagram, India.

Instagram is developing as a powerful platform for change with artivists envisioning more positive spaces amidst the chaos that is the modern world. Is this not worth pausing for in the midst of our daily grind?

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