This past weekend, shortly after I had finished painting my designated portion of the border wall, I was asked a series of questions during an interview. The question seemed very simple at first but as I applied the reasoning process I was taught many moons ago in a senior year Medical Ethics class, I came to find that I was treading very interesting water.
The question was as follows: “Are artists responsible for changing the world?”
I opened with a simple statement: if the responsibility to change the world was placed on me, I would probably change careers or even worse; I would probably never get out of bed since it would feel way too overwhelming to work under that amount of pressure.
I then began to talk about how the only responsibility an artist has is that which is self imposed. That responsibility is simply to express what he/she sees in his/her environment, because we seem to see things from a different perspective. But at the end of the formula, the change yielded is purely dependent on what the audience decides to do with the information. And so the responsibility to change the world is actually on the masses and not the artists.
This past weekend about 30 of us got together to paint the border wall dividing Tijuana, Mexico and San Ysidro, USA. The event was put together by Baja Internacional Multi Studio Cultural in collaboration with Mural De La Hermandad. They extended the invitation to artists from both sides of the border to come together and paint the old and rusty fence. The intention was basically to have an opportunity to experience our differences and to also celebrate that which makes us one.
I believe we succeeded and I know for certain that I am not alone.