Art and Upheaval: Artists on the World's Frontlines

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Artists in communities in crises the world over are working to resolve conflict, promote peace, and rebuild civil society. Here are six remarkable stories of artists in Northern Ireland, Cambodia, South Africa, the United States (Watts, Los Angeles), aboriginal Australia, and Serbia, who heal unspeakable trauma, give voice to the forgotten and disappeared, and re-stitch the cultural fabric of their communities.

Author Bill Cleveland is an activist, teacher, facilitator, lecturer, and director of the Center for the Study of Art & Community. He is the author of Art in Other Places, which explores the emerging community arts movement in the United States.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Expert praise for Art and Upheaval

"For some readers, this book could be used as a how-to manual for organizing a variety of arts projects responding to crisis, but for a much broader audience, Art and Upheaval will serve to validate the importance of artists working outside artistic institutions. In Cleveland's words, these artists "… are doing this to rally or to bring order, to educate and inspire, to entertain, to heal, but most of all, to tell the story—the hidden story, the story denied."
John Kreidler, Grantmakers in the Arts Reader: Volume 20, No. 1, Spring 2009

"Each of the groups Cleveland profiles started small, but grew to provide essential safe space where communities could come together and heal. Community art offered a way forward: a chance to acknowledge and confront painful histories, to begin to resolve current conflicts, and to imagine a different kind of future."
Brooke Jarvis, Yes! Magazine

"Cleveland gets down to gritty detail by documenting the censorship, government-sponsored arson, and institutional apathy that have threatened these outposts, as well as the specific historic moments that sparked them. All told, these are success stories against the odds. Art and Upheaval makes clear that where "monetary compensations, legal wrangling, formal apologies, condolences, and all other cultural frameworks often surrounding disasters and tragedies" stand little chance of repairing the spirit in the wake of killing unrest, public art just might."
Josie Rawson, Public Art Review

"Cleveland’s writing about artists in far corners pulling together and creating moral centres for healing and political reconciliation is sometimes ponderous but couldn’t be more relevant now that we have a global leader in Barack Obama who has made community-organising the centrepiece of his presidency. It may be that we have outlived the long period of ethical (and aesthetic) neutrality in our culture, now that politics is finally catching up with art."
Suzi Gablik, Resurgence Magazine

"The book is superbly written. After a brief introduction explaining his journey, Cleveland jumps into the artists’ stories. The chapters interweave the larger political dynamics with the personal narratives of the artists, providing background on the family and cultural contexts that helped shape their identity and actions. All too often stories of social-change actors concentrate on the actions of activists and are devoid of the larger political and social context. Cleveland does a masterful job of linking the narratives across the personal, community and societal levels."
Craig Zelizer, CommunityArtsNetwork

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780976605461
  • Publisher: New Village Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 332
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Bill Cleveland, Director of the Center for the Study of Art & Community, is an activist, teacher, facilitator, lecturer and writer. An American poet, cantadora, psychoanalyst and post-trauma specialist. A certified psychoanalyst who has practiced clinically for 36 years, helping with emotional recovery in situations that include 9/11 survivors and Littleton Colorado families after the Columbine massacre. Author of more than six books on the life of the soul, most notably Women who Run with the Wolves.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Clarissa Pinkola Estes Estes, Clarissa Pinkola

Introduction "The frontlines are everywhere" 1

Pt. 1 The Community Wedding: Northern Ireland

Ch. 1 Early Days 13

Ch. 2 Devising 22

Ch. 3 A Community Wedding 32

Pt. 2 Resurrection Dance: Cambodia

Ch. 4 Killing Culture 49

Ch. 5 Reclaiming History 61

Ch. 6 Tilling the Fields 71

Pt. 3 The Art of Human Rights: South Africa

Ch. 7 Walter Kefue Chakela 87

Ch. 8 Artist for Human Rights 118

Ch. 9 Prayers, Paper, Fire 127

Ch. 10 Art for Humanity 152

Pt. 4 The Watts Prophets: USA

Ch. 11 Poets 171

Ch. 12 Prophets 184

Ch. 13 Griots 194

Pt. 5 Tests of Will and War: Australia

Ch. 14 X-Ray Blindness 213

Ch. 15 Half-a-life 223

Ch. 16 Maralinga 239

Ch. 17 Ngapartji Ngapartji 253

Pt. 6 Dancing in the Dark: Serbia

Ch. 18 Angels in the Square 277

Ch. 19 Darker Still 288

Ch. 20 Bombs and Salt 305

Notes 321

Index 327

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