Art has power.
One of the most amazing things about being a writer is hearing from readers who found something in my stories that aided them in some way–whether Thorn became the book that kept them company as they sat with family in a hospital room, or if Sunbolt has become their comfort read. Knowing that my books have the possibility of positively affecting someone’s life is huge to me, it’s an awesome, amazing thing, and reminds me that art can do things and go places and hold a power that few other things can.
When I saw the art for the “We The People” Kickstarter campaign, it almost made me cry in public. This art is beautiful and powerful, and it comes at a time when narratives of exclusion and hate are gaining strength in the mainstream. I am both American and Muslim, and increasingly over the last few years, but most especially this last year, I’ve felt the rising tide of intolerance toward my identity as both. Our mainstream narratives continue to edge toward a self-fulfilling prophecy of the clash of civilizations, where history is selectively picked over and purportedly shown to prove that “Islam” and “the West” will always be at odds, and so we will always be natural enemies (and I must somehow be at odds with myself). Utter rubbish, but that’s not the point of this post, so I’ll stop there.
These images, by Shepard Fairey and two other amazing artists, are beautiful and evocative, and they lay claim to the diversity and beauty of America, in conscious and clear opposition to the hateful narratives we are struggling to keep from becoming the norm. Through this Kickstarter, they’ll run in the Washington Post on inauguration day, be handed out as posters from the backs of vans for people to carry and share, sent as postcards from each supporter to the White House, and made available to all supporters as an instant download to print and use that day. You can also get signed copies from the artists, if you want one for your wall…
Even if you can’t fund this project (I know money can be tight), hop over, watch the video, and let yourself enjoy the images. And consider sharing about it on Facebook, Twitter, or wherever it is you hang out online. Because art is power, and so is sharing it.