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The Art of Protest

Volume 46, Issue 6: November/December 2012

“If society has an imagination to express its desires and fears, it is activated through art….If social change is on the agenda, then art must make up a large part of the toolkit.” This was the opening paragraph introducing the first Arts and Politics issue CD produced a few years back.

This edition of Arts and Politics begins with “The Art of Protest,” a sampling of grassroots art displayed on Canadian streets during last year’s Occupy moment.

It was in 1975 that Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge made their first pioneering step as artist activists when they asked themselves this question: What should be more important to an artist — commodity value or community value? Since then they have collaborated with each other — and with a range of community activists — to make art for social change. Canadian Art magazine recently recognized Condé and Beveridge as “the social conscience of the Canadian art world.” CD invited them to select several pieces from their recent work for this edition of Arts and Politics.

Angel Boligan’s political cartoons have been featured on several covers of Canadian Dimension and few issues of the magazines have been without a Boligan cartoon or two since CD discovered this marvelous artist a few years ago. After several failed attempts to contact him, we asked CD collective member Jules Moore to try her luck. She finally caught up with Angel and conducted this exclusive interview.

Toronto indie rock band leader, Ron Hawkins, talks to Adam Davidson-Harden about his music and his politics. Sean Carleton reviews Canadian “Graphic Novels That Are Changing the World”. Michelle Kay profiles design studio The Public Space. Its goal is to design, educate and inform based on principles of social justice and anti-oppression. Its clients include Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the Canadian Federation of Students, Planned Parenthood Toronto and the National Association for Women & the Law. Steven Leyden Cochrane profiles an NFB-produced video and sound installation by Elle Flanders and Tamira Sawatzky that examines the segregated roadways of the Israelioccupied West Bank. CD collective member Edwin Janzen reviews the mammoth Affirming Collaboration, a remarkable anthology of community-based, collaborative art projects in Québec and Canada that approach the critical socio-political issues of our time.

The Cover

Carole Condé + Karl Beveridge, The Plague, 2009.

A response to the still ongoing financial crisis of 2008. A history of capitalist crisis extends into the background on one side, while the consequences and those who pay for it extend back on the other.

Table of Contents

The Regulars

  • Chávez No se Va
  • Around the Left in 60 Days
  • Harper’s Anti-Labour EI Reform
  • Too Small To Fail?
  • Giant Step Backwards:CAW leaders claim, “We resisted concessions”
  • PowerShift From isolated movements to transformative change
  • Expanding the Role of Midwives: Bridging the gap in reproductive health activism


  • Occupy Canada and the Art of Protest
  • Art and Politics
  • The Political Cartoons of Angel Boligan
  • Reflecting on Rock’n’Roll Politics: An Interview with Ron Hawkins
  • Graphic Novels That Are Changing the World
  • Which side are you on?
  • The Public Studio
  • Artists Cultivating Direct Engagement With Communities
  • Showdown at Barrière Lake

All that’s Left

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