Art has been used for many ends, including social criticism. Honore Daumier, George Grosz, Francesco Goya and William Hogarth are a few of the well known artists who addressed their times through their art. Graphic Witness, a website devoted to social commentary through graphic imagery from about 1900 on, has some lesser known examples.
In these politically fraught and divided times even quilters are using their medium for social comment. The protest quilts exhibited at the recent QuiltCon as I understand it, weren’t part of an organized exhibit, but reflected the views of their individual makers. These quilts addressed women’s rights, guns, incarceration, racism, police brutality, and many other flash point issues.
I have mixed feelings about such quilts in that I look for artistic qualities in how the message is conveyed. Some are heartfelt but I don’t think they’re aesthetically pleasing. I am indeed a snob. Here are a few I felt were effective in combining art and message.
For a more traditional approach to a social commentary quilt, check out what Love Those Hands At Home is making. And bear in mind that not all social commentary quilts are social protests.