One of the main questions I’ve struggled with is setting a clear boundary for the artwork I include in my experiments. I’ve realized that many pieces of art make, at first glance, appear to reflect topics purely about social justice rather than public health specifically. For example, does a painting signifying the emotional pain of sexual assault count as public health? What about a streetside mural depicting the harm of climate change?
In an era where social causes have erupted throughout the world, gaining traction both online and in person, we seem to be reminded of these issues no matter where we look on social media; this brings up the concept of “trendy social media”, where we often repost something or comment on an event without truly knowing the implications or roots of the issue. Therefore, we may not realize that an issue that has gained traction recently has actually been worked on by health department specialists for decades.
In this case, it appears that I can argue that any piece of art with a social justice message is also reflecting a public health issue. The values of public health align with ideas of community empowerment and improvement which, at the end of the day, is what social justice advocates are fighting for as well. This opens up a new avenue for my project where I may possibly look at social justice art and describe the public health roots behind the issue, and how it has gained so much traction in social media today.