Artists are often celebrated for their ability to bring beauty and hope into our lives, providing refuge at times of turmoil. But artists can also bring us to confront painful truths; they can lift up voices and stories that are marginalized, ignored or repressed. At this moment, when thousands are marching in the streets to protest racial, economic and environmental injustices, how can artists provide the inspiration and perhaps even tools for social change?
Cedric “Vise1” Douglas is a Boston artist and designer who has been working on social justice themes and community empowerment for many years. He has been illuminating the scope of violence directed at Black citizens in the United States through a group of projects that reinvent memorial language. “I call these Street memorials,” Douglas explained. “As someone who got my start as a graffiti artist, but also studied art and design at Mass College of Art, I focus on reinventing and remixing motifs and conventions, giving new meaning to what we see on the street every day.”