Visual Arts and Social Change

Join Maria Louisa, on her exploration of visual art pieces, through history that advocated for social change.


Other examples of innovative art peaces from a more modern setting:

This knotted gun, simply titled Non-Violence, was first created by Swedish artist Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd after the murder of John Lennon in 1980. Originally placed across the street from Lennon's home in New York City, the sculpture was moved to the U.N. Headquarters, calling for peace and non-violence.

Since then, however, it has become a symbol of the ongoing struggle for non-violence and gun control worldwide, serving as the symbol of the The Non-Violence Project, a nonprofit advocating for social change through violence-prevention programming.

There are currently 16 copies of the statue on display around the world, most of which are in Sweden.



  • Ethnicities from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, a mural that depicts the five Indigenous people from five continents, this concept based on the five Olympic rings. The bold, geometric mural — created by Brazilian graffiti artist Eduardo Kobra — is meant to show how "we are all connected," according to the artist. It currently holds the Guinness World Record for largest mural created by one artist.



  • AIDS Memorial Quilt a traveling public art project, from the 1980's is the AIDS Memorial Quilt, this was created in June 1987 at the height of the AIDS crisis in the United States. An ongoing project memorializes those who have died from HIV & AIDS through quilted panels, embellished with their names and symbolic imagery representing the person memorialized. Currently, the quilt is made up of more than 48,000 panels, with more added every year as more AIDS casualties are submitted to The NAMES Project Foundation.



  • Field of Vision: A Garden for Others December 2015, artist and environmental activist Jenny Kendler was commissioned to create a butterfly garden in downtown Louisville, Kentucky. In creating Field of Vision: A Garden for Others, Kendler used reclaimed wood, ultraviolet LED lights and milkweed to create a garden in Louisville that would draw people back to an often-overlooked river, while also supporting vulnerable butterfly populations.



  • Invisible Homeless Homeless populations are often ignored on the street. A British artist wanted to challenge this, creating a glass sculpture of a sleeping body resting on a bed of cardboard, to represent how homeless people struggle to be seen on city streets. The glass figure, which was on display in Bristol, England, in late December 2015, was created in collaboration between artist Luke Jerram and UK-based youth homelessness charity 1625 Independent People. learn more about art that has impacted the world here in this blog link by our friends at Mashable: https://mashable.com/2016/09/24/public-art-social-good/

Gain Experience with the United Nations