The Artdog Quotes of the Week
Who gets represented? In my opinion, that’s one of the most important questions any writer, visual artist, actor, or other creative individual can ask.
So who gets represented in your creative work?
Who wins the final battles? Which character earns their true love’s heart in the end? And how does that true love look? Who plays the villain’s role? Which characters die horribly and get cast into the outer darkness?
The stories we tell and the pictures we create matter. Because who gets represented is a vital question for all of us.
Art is essential to our understanding
There’s an essential reason why art matters, in whatever of its many forms and media. It matters because the stories and the visuals that surround us help us define ourselves and our world.
I have blogged before about art creating bridges of understanding between cultures, but it’s broader and deeper and far, far more important than simply reaching out between cultures, important as that is.
Representation is important
Representation helps people answer the question, “where do I fit in?” This is especially important for children. They understand the world in the way they see it explained to them, both verbally and visually. They respond to the representations they see.
But it really is a question for all of us throughout our lives. Just look at the assorted reactions to the recent “OK Boomer” fad. If people hadn’t cared how they were being represented, would they have reacted the same way?
Representation represents power
Now we’re getting to the base-level reason why representation is important. Why the question “Who gets represented?” is so urgent. Representation signals and is an outcome of power.
The power dynamics of representation are too big and important a topic to address in the final paragraphs of this blog post, so look for more on this topic in blog posts to come!
Many thanks to The Huffington Post, which published two features that provided all of these posts. They are “18 Times Black Actors Nailed Why We Need Representation in Film,” and its sidebar slide show (scroll to the bottom), “16 Times Latinos Were Brutally Honest about Hollywood’s Lack of Diversity.”
I also thank Green Biz for the background image of my “Representation Matters” header.