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2021 Art or Social Change Winners

Social Justice in Action:

This award is given to art works that address contemporary issues of inequality and injustice at the local, national, or global level.

First Place: Carolina Silva

Silva’s piece “Technophobia” attempts to spotlight automation and the rise of skill-bias across undocumented immigrants and lower-skilled workers. It refers to the fear of advanced technology, which is contingent on one’s state of mind. The two canvases are painted in monochromatic hues with enhanced color detailing humanity. The phrase “it’s all in your head”, is often echoed to deflect the reality of unskilled segregation in the labor force. “Dreaming was my crime” refers to undocumented immigrants arriving in the U.S looking for jobs that they will not be able to find and are labeled as criminals for their dreams. Both phrases are painted using crackle medium which is intended to age and dimmish the content of the phrases. Autonomous mechanisms shown in both paintings use acrylic gel transfer techniques to reflect a static element.

Second Place: Jenna Wildeman

Waldeman’s piece is titled “Mujer de las mariposas” In the words of the artist: This piece is social justice in action. Creating a narrative for mixed-race individuals and interracial relationships. The complementary colors play off each other’s intensity creating an especially cohesive piece. This represents the intensity of both two cultures and two people coming together cohesively. The woman in my portrait is my partner. As a Cuban and Mexican woman, there is vulnerability as a mixed-race person. Together we are exploring the many sides of the vulnerability of being in an interracial relationship. The butterflies are not only beautiful but represent the mystery of change, transformation, and vulnerability in life. The pasting on top depicts how new and prevalent these vulnerabilities are to us. My artwork not only speaks for my partner and me but for others who are faced with these vulnerabilities.

Third Place: Jenna McNeil

Jenna McNeil’s piece “together we are powerful” In the words of the artist: I believe [that] after the year we have had, we need to come together to be united.

Community Building at WSU:

This award is given to an artwork that foster an inclusive community at WSU (must be specific to WSU).

First Place: Nayomi Mendez

Mendez’s piece is titled “Imposter-Girl.” In the artist’s words: The girl in this painting believed herself to be an imposter. She never believed that she could succeed in a country that wasn’t hers. Regardless of her intelligence and achievements, she never deemed herself capable of success. In the painting, the imposter appears to be in a depressed state because she feels alone and unworthy. She didn’t believe that anyone like her could ever attain success. I, however, believe that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to because I am worthy of success. I believe that I have the capabilities to break through boundaries and face adversity head-on. The reason why I feel this way is because the community that I’ve made at WSU has helped me understand my worth and establish my place in society. The welcoming community at WSU has also helped the girl in the painting go from an imposter to me.

Community Outreach:

This award is given to an art work that builds bridges between WSU (or the WSU community and individuals) and other communities.

Art For Social Change 2021 PSD

First Place: Pullman School District

Led by teacher Desiree Gould, Franklin Grade School students created this fantastic piece titled “Everyone Deserves a Home” In the word of the artists: Homelessness can reflect biases and injustices present in communities. All students in the Pullman School District were invited to create artwork for a combined mural emphasizing that everyone deserves a home.