Change Through Art

Guest Blogger Ani Gevorgian, May 2009 Go Back

Being a part of a group working on a project for Human Rights was one of the most amazing experiences for me at Art Center. I had always wanted to make a change through art and was continuously looking for ways to apply my artistic skills where there was a need for change.

I thought the Human Rights project offered by Designmatters was the best place for me to start, so I jumped on it right away. The objective of the project was to design posters that would honor the 60th Anniversary of Declaration of Human Rights in 2008. The works were then to be displayed at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France as well as featured in the Pasadena Central Library.

The process of research was the most difficult part of the project. I began by researching the Articles of Human Rights and it wasn’t much longer when I became extremely aware of the fact that Human Rights activism has been fading out year by year. The subject has been violated, dishonored and forgotten more or less in different parts of the world; some more than others.

I will not deny the fact that it was certainly upsetting to be reading about all the inhumanities such as murder, rape, genocide, acid attacks, racism, etc. But the more I read, the more I wanted to do something to make a change, even if it meant to change one person, touch one soul and reach out to create awareness…

I was very dedicated to start with the project. I think that, being a woman who had lived in different parts of the world and had heard about inhumane acts like gender inequality, had a lot to do with it. I think my dedication to make a change came long before I entered Art Center, but now I can strongly say that Art Center provided me with opportunities where I could apply my long awaiting passion in the right direction.

We had two instructors guiding us through the project; Martha Rich and Esther Pearl Watson. During the project I also spoke with Ann Field, Chair of the Illustration department, and talked to her about my ideas and what I was working on. Her comments were always helpful in assisting me to think in the right direction and to connect with myself in order to be able to bring the thoughts to paper and design effectively.

The class required meeting in groups and giving each other feedback, although I always found myself working better at my own pace since I needed to focus in order to conquer my burning passion for change, after diving deeply into the subject matter I was working on. It was only then that I could calm down and be productive. When I finally stopped thinking, I was able to apply my ideas and thoughts onto paper. After that I found myself on the other side of the mountain, gliding down the slope after I’d rigorously hiked up to get where I wanted to be. It was fun to finally design and see thought morphing into shapes and colors.

The Designmatters program is great because of its rewards. When I found the right idea and finished drawing and designing the posters, I felt such a great accomplishment especially when I saw that the images were able to leave the viewer with a strong impact. And that was exactly my motivation: to touch people’s soul and cause an emotional reaction.

The programs offered by Designmatters are unique in a sense that they provide the opportunities for artists and designers to reach out and to influence the outside world. The world of an artist could be a very private and concealed place, but it is through programs like Designmatters that art is expressed and is therefore able to make a change.

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