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Democracy Matters - Ep. 102: Talking Back to Power Through Art


by Carah Ong Whaley

 
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SUMMARY: “Art can create the space, set the tone, to not even acknowledge power and to create a world for ourselves,” says Aram Han Sifuentes, a fiber and social practice artist, writer, and educator who works to center immigrant and disenfranchised communities.


Art is a powerful means by which immigrants create spaces of civic engagement and belonging by fostering opportunities for collective gathering, making and knowledge sharing. “Art can create the space, set the tone, to not even acknowledge power and to create a world for ourselves,” says Aram Han Sifuentes, a fiber and social practice artist, writer, and educator who works to center immigrant and disenfranchised communities. Their work often revolves around skill sharing, specifically sewing techniques, to create multiethnic and intergenerational sewing circles, which become a place for empowerment, subversion, and protest.

Aram also shares how they go about building mutually-reciprocal and beneficial relationships with communities and how art can be used by historically marginalized communities as a form of protest and speaking truth to power. “Even telling our stories is an act of protest and is radical,” says Han Sifuentes, who acknowledges that protest is not safe for everyone, especially the most vulnerable.

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Published: Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 26, 2022

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