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A Word on Art and Politics

by Nathaniel Donnett


I’ve  wondered, how can you have community without politics to sustain it, defend it, or push for solutions to adequately address its needs? I don’t think you can. How can art not be political when it’s birthed in a place in which politics, overtly or covertly determines the way societies operate? I believe it must be. I think as many do that art is political because of its dialectical nature between itself and those who experience it. Art is also political because of its content and the space it occupies, in other words just its very being. Perhaps we are the principles and elements of art; perhaps we are, in other words, art personified.

We may not agree on art’s definitions or its content but the ideas we exchange give rise to internal and external discussions that reverberate: ideas become opinions, and opinions become positions-some reflective, some reactive. What we do with our opinion is important. What we amplify or dismiss is consequential to our condition in life. Art acts as a catalyst, a reminder of everything in our society that needs

to be changed or dismantled. However, we must analyze ourselves in addition to challenging the status quo. We recognize as a result, the multiple ways our structural systems empower few and marginalize many.

Maybe we are catalysts, the amplifiers, and the art. Project Row Houses is a great example of what I’m saying. In any case, we must consider the principles and elements that underlie the art–that which we make and that which we embody–and apply them to our lives. We can’t hesitate to reframe, reimagine, rethink, and restructure that, which is not working for us, so that it can be beneficial to us all.

We are art. The art is us. Without us there is no politics, and without politics there is no us.

Nathaniel Donnett is an interdisciplinary artist from Houston, Texas who is interested in human behavior and psycho-social concerns. Donnett is currently working out his “Dark Imaginarence” concept/manifesto soul theory, and is also the founder of “Not That But This.” You can find him at,, and on facebook.

Nate Photo

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