It has been said that art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable. In light of Donald Trump’s impending inauguration as the United States of America's 45th president, the American public has shattered into these two camps: the disturbed and the comfortable. Artists of all mediums have taken this artistic purpose to heart, producing anti-Trump artwork that both illuminates the plights of those disturbed by Trump’s election and aims to spark controversy.
One such example is from an artist named Shepard Fairey. Fairey rose into popularity during Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential campaign, in which he designed the iconic red, white, and blue “Hope” posters that became emblematic of the Obama administration. Recently, Fairey has produced a new series of posters in the same style of the one aforementioned. However, these posters feature photos of non-white women, such as a Muslim woman wearing an American flag hijab, a Native American woman, and a black woman.
These posters feature the tagline “We the People” followed by sayings such as “Defend Dignity,” “Protect Each Other,” and “Are Greater Than Fear.” Along with two other posters designed by artists Ernesto Yerena and Jessica Sabogal, Fairey's posters were commissioned by the Amplifier Foundation, a self-described “art machine for social change.” What makes these posters even more moving is that the subject of each photo was captured by a photographer who identified with said subject’s ethnicity.
The Amplifier Foundation is not the only organization aiming to create work that questions or protests the inauguration. Planned Parenthood and All Access teamed up to provide an “Anti-Inauguration Concert” at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. There, they featured The National and Common in honor of women’s reproductive rights. Additionally, Audioslave is reuniting for the first time in 11 years to perform at Prophets of Rage’s “Anti-Inauguration Ball” in Los Angeles. Other performers include Vic Mensa, Jack Black, Jackson Browne, and the Los Angeles Freedom Choir. Proceeds from the concert will go to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network.
While the Trump Administration has struggled to secure performers for the Inauguration, artists from all fields are using the Inauguration as a springboard to make their messages, their passions, and their voices known. Art is a means of social change—a platform and expression of emotion. In a time when many Americans feel silenced and marginalized, many are using their voices to fight back against a rhetoric of hate, creating works that aim to unify the nation, or at least the half disturbed by the Inauguration.