The George Washington University art school recently co-hosted a three-day gathering to discuss how art can influence “social justice,” culminating with pleas for a “Muslim refugee” to serve as president.
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“Creative Time Summit: Occupy the Future,” an annual event that has taken place since 2009, featured more than 50 speakers, including Black Lives Matter founder Alicia Garza, according to GW Today.
The three-day summit in Washington, D.C. concluded with breakout sessions at the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design at GWU, where participants discussed artwork related to issues such as unionization, gender equality, and “cultural appropriation.”
Attendees also had the opportunity to participate in a session titled “Rethinking Democratic Decision-Making,” led by assistant sculpture professor Carmen Montoya, that described democracy as being at odds with the principles of social justice.
“Democracy is a beloved concept across the globe and in the United States, it is sacred. So much so that it generally goes unexamined as a practice,” a description for the workshop states.
“It is a fundamentally exclusive process and therefore easily corruptible,” the summary then declares, asking, “How can artists, political leaders, community activists, and citizens respond with more inclusive models for decision making?”
The summit concluded at the White House Sunday night with an updated reading of “I want a president…,” a “collective reading project” devised in 1992 by artist and activist Zoe Leonard.
The original version of the statement described Leonard’s desire for a president who has experienced various setbacks, such as lacking health insurance or having an abortion, that would presumably induce them to support a larger role for government in addressing such issues.
“I want a dyke for president. I want a person with AIDS for president and I want a fag for vice president and I want someone with no health insurance and I want someone who grew up in a place where the earth is so saturated with toxic waste that they didn’t have a choice about getting leukemia,” the original version states. “I want a president that [sic] had an abortion at sixteen and I want a candidate who isn’t the lesser of two evils and I want a president who lost their last lover to aids [sic].”
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