The Art of Resistance

Twelve days into the presidency of Donald Trump and artists all over America and throughout the world are resisting in the clearest and most articulate way we know how—through the expression of our art.

Artists that have never created a piece of political art are suddenly discovering that they are compelled to communicate their displeasure with the direction that America is heading.

Artists like Peter Crompton—a set designer and stagecraft teacher at Santa Rosa Junior College in California—are now inspired to create art as resistance.

After the November election, Peter sketched this American flag flying with stars downward in the officially recognized signal of distress—a perfect analogy for a world turned upside down.

Distress Flag (2016) by Peter Crompton

His next sketch shows the dismantling of the Statue of Liberty and represents the fear that many of us have that our civil liberties will be taken away.

Aftermath: Time to Rebuild (2016) by Peter Crompton

That sketch grows darker and becomes a little more Piranesi and less Planet of the Apes.

Aftermath: Second State (2016) by Peter Crompton

At last, the initial inspiration leads to the message that education is a better alternative to mass deportation of immigrants. 

As an educator, Peter believes this is the best path forward as Donald Trump was supported by the most conservative and the least educated among us. And that is partially true, but it doesn’t include people that are simply ignorant of the big political picture and are so disaffected that they will vote for a populist like Trump. And those of us that are highly educated and come from a more liberal and open-minded cultural world view can’t simply dismiss Trump supporters as stupid because it feeds into the narrative that liberals are elitists that look down on regular Americans with smug superiority.

Art can be the switch that turns on the light inside our minds to illuminate those dark places where territorial dogma crouches in chains, growling and straining against its short leash.

Art as resistance to educate everyone is what is most needed now to cultivate a sustainable society for all people.


Readers can see more of Peter Crompton’s art by following him on Instagram. 


See more Art of the Resistance in my profile of C.K. Itamura.

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