Politics and artistic expression crossed paths last Wednesday, Sept. 19 at the “For Freedoms Party,” an exhibit through the UNM Art Museum.
For Freedoms Federation, a project with the goal of combining art with civic participation, worked in conjunction with the UNM Art Museum to bring the exhibition to the University of New Mexico.
After a keynote speech from artist Aram Han Sifuentes, the interactive art exhibit began. Attendees were able to voice their own political opinions by filling in cards with statements like “Freedom From...” and “Freedom Of…” and added them to the walls of the exhibit.
“I think it’s super powerful,” said Kiersten Stearns, a UNM junior. “I want to make a difference, and I’m also a super artistic person, so to see someone who is taking their art and making impact and making movements with their art is super powerful.”
The main focus of the exhibit was the area for attendees to write their own statements.
“Freedom From the Patriarchy,” “Freedom Of Expression,” and “Freedom To Love” — these were just some of the sentiments shared.
There was also information about the national For Freedoms Organization posted throughout the exhibit, featuring photography of political participation in Albuquerque, as well as other statements from the organization.
The event also featured a DJ, food and drink and a radio broadcast exhibit put on by one of UNM’s broadcasting classes.
According to Traci Quinn, the curator of education and public programs at the UNM Art Museum, performance classes will also be contributing to the exhibit later on in the semester blending the idea of art and political expression together.
The national movement is based on Franklin D. Roosevelt’s four freedoms of “affirming the inalienable human rights of freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear,” according to the For Freedoms website.
For Freedoms has taken their movement to all 50 states. Along with art exhibits, For Freedoms has hosted town halls and designed billboard advertisements to help spread their message. According to their website, the organization also aims to combine art and political conversation together in a way that encourages both artistic expression and civic engagement.
“I think (political expression) makes art even more beautiful in itself, because not only are you painting… you’re also able to express yourself and speak and let other people take from what you have created in their own sense,” Stearns said.
Sifuentes’ speech served as the kickoff for a semester-long focus on political engagement and events by UNM students in Albuquerque.
“Creating and claiming space for immigrants of color and I do that through different participatory art projects,” Sifuentes said.
The exhibit will remain on display in the UNM Art Museum until the beginning of December. Other students in the College of Fine Arts will continue to contribute to the interactive exhibit both in artistic-based and performance-based ways throughout the semester.
Matthew Zank is a freelance reporter for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @reportermattz.