Magazine article Art Education

Letter to the Editor

Magazine article Art Education

Letter to the Editor

Article excerpt

Social Justice Art Education: a Pre-Postmodern Critique*

I have some thoughts on the Idea of Social Justice Art Education (SJAE). No one can dispute that works of art throughout history have treated just about any and every sort of subject matter, real or imagined- including social and political themes. Only the most dictatorial societies or theocratic cultures have Imposed limits on artists' themes and subject matter. Social justice themes that pervade artworks derive primarily from artists' personal values, often Influenced by prevailing cultural beliefs.

Stripped of its Postmodern baggage, advocacy of SJAE, I believe, represents a constructive effort to suggest that art curriculum and instruction be given some moral bearing and social significance. I concur with Bastos' description of "the transformative power of learning" and "art education's humanistic mlsslon,"and the belief that art can promote "a kind of critical awareness that generates understanding, discourse, and... change." And find no fault when she states that a SJAE instructional approach is based on "constant and evolving reflection about our own instances of [felt] oppression and privilege, [and] that of our students" (p. 3). And I wholeheartedly agree with Freiré (2006) on the "practice of freedom" as: "... dealing] critically and creatively with reality and discovering how to participate in the transformation of [one's own] world."These are noble sentiments that hold art education to be more than merely a matter of mechanical-technical skill development. …

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