Summer 2017 — Nicole Asato and Santiago Garfias-Miranda are designing their way into activism as part of Oregon State’s new campaign, Speaking Art.
Speaking Art, run by Diversity & Cultural Engagement (DCE), is a creative avenue of resistance for students to advocate for political, environmental, economic or social change at OSU and beyond — an alternative form of student activism focused on design and communication.
“Our catchphrase is ‘resistance through design,’” said Asato, a third-year student studying graphic design and innovation management. “It’s to show that even if you’re not an activist physically out there, you can still have your voice heard — whether it's through creating posters or drawings or art.”
Garfias-Miranda, a fourth-year student in digital communication arts, echoed Asato’s sentiment. Not everyone feels comfortable going to a rally or protest and voicing their concerns that way. “Creating art gives people like that an opportunity (to be heard),” he said.
We build community, not walls. Speak Art, Speak Out.
Over the course of spring term, Speaking Art called for submissions from students in the Oregon State community. These open submissions culminated in a Speaking Art workshop: On May 25, Asato and Garfias-Miranda, along with other students and staff, met to make art and discuss student activism, alternative forms of protest and how art relates to the expression of resistance.
The first half of the five-hour workshop was dedicated to creating and sharing resistance art. The second half featured two speakers — Marwah Al-Jilani and Hunter Briggs, student ambassadors from DCE — who talked about the important role art has played in activism, as well as the work they’ve been doing for the Arts and Social Justice Initiative.
“We ended up having a variety of really beautiful posters created by those who came by to join us,” Asato said. The art is now visible by the Student Involvement Lounge in the Student Experience Center.
Both Asato and Garfias-Miranda hope that Speaking Art will continue next year and beyond.
“Placing art somewhere allows people to approach it on their own terms, and maybe come to understand why something is such an issue,” Garfias-Miranda said. “Something I envision is creating a collage of the art that’s been submitted and then posting that collage around campus for others to see.”