The Importance of Artists of Color

Posted by Jennifer Liriano, Fiction Reader for issue 6.1
The newest edition of Gandy Dancer will be featuring incredible art. As it turns out, much of the art is by a group of culturally diverse students. It is important to have this sort of representation in a literary journal because if readers from similar backgrounds see their culture represented, it may speak to them personally and perhaps even encourage them to pursue more creative outlets.

This edition’s art is vibrant and evocative of the experiences that many of the students have had. “I’m not racist, it’s just my preference you’re not my type,” is a powerful piece that addresses social issues that occur within our society, and it offers a perspective that would not be available to us without a diverse group of artists. As quoted by the young Amandla Sternberg in reference to people of color in film, “Projects that feature black actors and are created by black people are so important because what we see in the media dictates how we think about the world.” A great example of an organization that represents marginalized groups is VIDA: Women in the literary arts. This organization focuses on the art of women, people of color and artists within the LGBTQ+ community and provides a space for them to share their art.

Various pieces that we have selected for this edition are from student’s study abroad experiences. These photos are extremely compelling and allow us to see different cultural perspectives from the view of a student. One example is the work from Savannah Williams who provided a photo from her experience in Taiwan. Her work is powerful and her use of film was especially fascinating, making for a great image. These images like the selected CNF, fiction and poetry, evoke strong emotions from our readers.

In an earlier interview with Gandy Dancer’s 4.2 Featured Artist, Lei Peng Gan said “my early work was more representational; though the further I proceed in my studies, the more my work has simplified in a way that the viewer has to observe the content as though I’m speaking another language.” It is our hope that inclusion of work like Lei Peng Gan’s as well as the work that we’ve selected for 6.1 allows readers of Gandy Dancer to connect with people of different backgrounds through art.

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