The Inspirational Artists Influencing Social Movements

Pieces from the Recology San Francisco Artist in Residence (AIR) Program at Bioneers 2022.

Social, political, and environmental movements succeed when supporters feel deeply connected to the cause. Facts and statistics are certainly important, but a compelling story can spark an emotional reaction that motivates organizers on a more impassioned level. The arts have the ability to illustrate what facts cannot, making them an essential factor in nearly all successful movements.

This week, we’re sharing some of our favorite art featured at this year’s Bioneers Conference, including installations, participatory art, and performances. We’ll also share a great conversation we had with inspirational artivist David Solnit.

JUST A REMINDER! We’ve released videos of all Bioneers keynote presentations and performances. You can watch them all here. Don’t forget to share your favorites with your community.

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Art at Bioneers 2022

Art and artists featured at the 2022 Bioneers Conference. Clockwise from top left: 

  • Ana Teresa Fernández’s work explores the politics of intersectionality through time-based actions and social gestures. This piece, titled On the Horizon, is intended to instigate curiosity and agency around climate change through an immersive and alluring temporary installation. 
  • For Michael Campbell, from an early age, handcrafted objects and the divine were connected. “I’m interested in our perception of the eternal, the divine and the otherworldly through objects that bring about an alternate mythological narrative spoken through the voice of nature.”
  • In response to this year’s site for Bioneers Conference, Fog Fire Collective participated in a series of physical dialogues with the surrounding land and water with the aim of reminding conference guests of the ecological communities that surround the Palace of Fine Arts. Inspired by the history of the nearby “Washer Woman’s Lagoon,” the collective inverts the gesture of “washing” by scrubbing mud, algae and soil found within these ecologies into 40- foot lengths of muslin that are then hung from the venue’s ceiling recalling both the verticality of the structure’s pillars and surrounding redwoods. 
  • A piece by the Recology San Francisco Artist in Residence (AIR) Program: The mission of the Artist in Residence Program is to empower all communities to conserve natural resources by providing professional Bay Area artists and university students with access to materials at the public dump, a workspace, stipend, and ongoing opportunities to exhibit work in public spaces.
  • A piece by Veronica Ramirez: “I remember the moment when it became a calling to make earth altars and where it would lead me was unknown, I just knew in that moment, I wanted to continue exploring this tremendously potent medicine that found its way to my path. An elder once shared with me that sacralizing our spaces with sacred art is so very fundamental to our revolution. I deeply feel this to be true and believe it’s true for our evolution as well.”

Performance by Jason Nious and Antwan Davis of Molodi

Molodi is far more than an extraordinary performance troupe: it’s a community of energetic leaders, educators, and seasoned entertainers. Molodi pushes the boundaries of stepping through its unique blend of “extreme body percussion,” gumboots, beatbox, poetry, hip hop dance, immersive storytelling, awakened consciousness, educational outreach and robust personalities that brings to life a high-energy percussive experience.

Read here.

Artivism: David Solnit on Using Art to Influence Movements

“Movements always use the arts, but I think there has been a kind of an emergent intelligence. A lot of people within the movements have started to realize that we need the language of art because the core conflict in our society is between dueling narratives, and if your opponents, the corporations and/or governments you’re combatting, hire top public relations firms and ad agencies and are able to be more powerful storytellers than you, they can keep wrecking the planet. And that requires a shift, because secular rationalist activist types are used to making their case with facts, data and information but that alone doesn’t work. You have to explain that data and information through narratives that resonate in actual people’s lives, and that’s what the arts can do, if you use them right.”

Artist and activist David Solnit discusses his work with Bioneers’ Teo Grossman.

Read here.

More Artivism from

Relational Mindfulness and the Deep Feminine: An Embodied Immersion for Women

A workshop with Deborah Eden Tull and Bioneers’ Nina Simons

Consciously or not, most among us have been conditioned to adapt to a world that has biased us toward the masculine. But in truth, the vital energies of the feminine and masculine – the yin and yang, receptive and active – naturally co-exist in dynamic balance together. When they dance in wholeness, the result is thriving health.

Join Bioneers’ Nina Simons for a restorative retreat that explores more compassionate, wise, respectful, and embodied ways of being that can transform how you experience your life, family, work, and the larger world.

Register now.

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