I've written about the Radical Russian Art Collective known as Voivna a few times. They have very successfully blurred the line between performance, graffiti, vandalism, fine art and provacative political protest and have managed to enrage the Russian government in the process.
Here's a picture Oleg Vorotnikov and his wife, Natalia Sokol posed in front of the giant penis graffiti that Oleg and Leonid Nikolyev were arrested for creating on a drawbridge in St. Petersurg last year.
Oleg and Nikoleyev were held in custody for four months for another incident and released from the notorious St. Petersurg Kresty Prison after the British Artist, Banksy posted their 300,000 rouble Bond to have them released. The pair, Oleg and Leonid now face possible incarceration is a Russian Psychiatric Facility for Corrective Behavioral Therapy....This is not good.
The name, Voivna, means war and the collective delights in "full frontal" confrontation. The penis on the drawbridge was in front of the Federal Security Service building. The FSS is the successor to the KGB.
The artists now face 6 years in prison, but the repressive nature of Russian Security and the Police is a real danger to the members of Voivna.
As Oleg and Natalia were returning from a press conference after his release with their 6 month old baby, Caspar, they were attacked by Russian Security Thugs who eat them and injured the baby.
"Our Society Has Lived in Fear For So Many Decades, We Are Trying To Wake It By Kicking It" says Oleg, but now it is the police who are doing the kicking.
But there are really great socially relevant, politically motivated artists in America. In the early 1990's,
I spent 2 years learning how to become an offset printer. I worked for a small Manhattan based press running a Tokai multi color printing press. It was the culmination of a life involved in graphic art. I felt I had to have hands on experience, so I learned the trade. We printed everyrthing., There
were lots of commercial accounts, but we also did printing for many political publications and work by political artists as well.
One of the artists I really like and printed for is still very much active, Erik Drooker. Drooker was just commissioned by the IWW to create a series of posters for the next stage in the fight for labor rights in Wisconsin.
They are proposing a general strike! Here is Drookers poster....
It's time for America to start awakening. It's time to start kicking back. We are getting bombarded by the propaganda that the Unions are Communist...Socialism is dangerous and we have Russia touted as the Red Specter of doom...but in reality, the Soviet Union didn't tolerate strikes. Russia today has become a corporate oligarchy. Dissent is not tolerated, the people have no rights. It is evolution of a corporate government environment. That's what is happening in America. If Scott Walker and his ilk have their way, you will not have the right to strike. It is the same situation. Artists have a voice. We have a duty to provoke and wake America up! It is time to start kicking before we start getting kicked!
Support The IWW General Strike in Wisconsin! Support it for your own future where ever you are!