What is the role of the artist in changing the political landscape? How does your work do this?
For the artists who choose this path, our role is to expose injustice. A single painting cannot save anyone but can serve as a catalyst to evoke a change in someone to begin the work that can indeed save us.
With my own work, I seek to fill voids with innovative methods of presenting the images we don’t usually see, but should. I paint brown goddesses because young women of color often have trouble viewing themselves as sacred. I paint mothers as saints because the everyday woman is worthy of praise. I paint freedom fighters because today we are taught that to resist is to be a troublemaker and that to go against the powers that be when we are in disagreement is to be ungrateful.
I paint the harsh realities in a world that masks truth behind a bling-bling generation attempting to convince us that we’re all comfortable and living well.
What are you working on in 2007?
In early 2007, I will be debuting a new project that examines the impact of industrialization and militarism on our environment and on us as people. My inspiration for this piece is Puerto Rico, whose agricultural economy severely declined in an effort to industrialize the island for foreign benefits and to have military bases set up across three islands of this archipelago.
For this project, I will be exploring more alternative materials: natural, ephemeral materials as well as industrial scraps and urban debris to create a juxtaposition between the fragility of human lives and the destruction bred by the quest for power that manifests through war and capitalism.
Who are your "Innovators"?
I think we’ve come to a new place in the struggle for socio/political and economic justice where all the more we need each and every one of us as individuals to be our own innovators. We can no longer rely solely on "leaders."
You can find more about Yasmin and her upcoming projects at www.yasminhernandez.com.
What do you think of the INNOVATORS list? Who would you include? Click here to join the conversation at RACEWIRE, the COLORLINES blog.