The Rise Of Artivism: Art For Change

Artivism is a word we are hearing more of lately. And it comes in many different contexts. Fighting for equality and climate justice are just a couple of examples. I see now more than ever artists on social media and online communities who are creating great pieces of work that raise serious issues and challenges of the world.

We still have a way to go till we reach a just and fair world. Not just for us, but for everything that exists on this planet.

What Is Artivism?

Artivism, as the name suggests, is the combination of the words ‘Art’ and ‘Activism’. It refers to when art is used as a form of protest.

At its core, artivism is all about change. Artivism turns words into action.

Artivists do what they do because they are unhappy with the way the world is and they want to change something. And they believe their art will help bring about that change.

It’s important to remember ‘artivist’ is a term that describes a wide range of people and disciples. Every type of art can be used to communicate social, political, and environmental issues, including illustration, photography, and videography. Each artivist takes a different and unique approach. There’s no right or wrong way to do this as it is about expressing what you feel about the world and our society.

Some common types of artivism include:

Environmental Artivism

Environmental artivism focuses on spreading awareness about ecological challenges. Due to human activity, the planet is suffering. Climate change, deforestation, pollution, biodiversity loss are just a few examples in which we are destroying nature.

So artivists, like myself, choose to talk about these important issues through our art. Because if we don’t act soon, it will be too late and will have lost so much biodiversity which took billions of years to evolve. And our lives will be on the line as well.

Feminist Artivism

Women’s rights is another topic people communicate through their art. While we have come a long way there is still inequality in our society that cannot be ignored. Many artists and creatives are aiming to raise awareness and empower women through different mediums.

These types of work can help give women the confidence to do what they want to do, and not what they are told to do because of social norms.

Artivism and Racism

Racism and discrimination come in many different forms. Discrimination from the color of our skin, our nationality, etc are often used as a reason to marginalize people. Therefore once again, artists like Nikkolas Smith are using their skills to try and stop this discrimination. There are many artists who are very vocal in the BLM movement and trying to communicate this serious issue in a way that speaks to people’s hearts. Since art is a powerful way to spread messages, artists use it to fight the oppression they feel and speak out for what is right.

The Impact Of Artivism

Many people think art is about decoration. Simply to make a room look nicer. But there’s so much more to it.

In many cases, concepts and ideas are difficult to understand and to communicate. And not many individuals will be able to understand technical language, long articles, or complicated statistics. Let’s be real, few people are able to understand a scientific papers. Art however, makes everything more accessible. Because everyone can understand art. And in addition, it creates an emotional response in the person that is looking at it.

So, people are more likely to engage in activism for the planet and for the people. When people see these pieces of art or other creative content that talk about important issues, they are more likely to respond to the situation and do something about it.

Pangeaseed is a great organization that focuses a lot on artivism to help the planet. I would definitely check them out.

Why Should You Become An Artivist?

It’s a peaceful yet powerful way to get people involved. If you have a talent, then why not use it in a meaningful way to help others?

Together, we can create a movement. If creatives come together, we might be able to spark social change in our society. Artivism encourages people to take part as it’s more motivational and inspirational than most other forms of communication.

Plus, artivism has another superpower. It breaks the language barrier. It’s not necessary to know a specific language to understand art because it’s all about emotion and feeling.

Creatives don’t often feel empowered as changemakers. As we grow up, everyone tells that that choosing a creative career is too risky and that if you want to change the world you need to study science, law, or some other respected career path.

We are not taught about the power of art. And what it can do the world.

I say, stop looking at the negatives. Stop finding reasons art is not useful. Then you will realize the power it possesses. Because at the end of the day, we wouldn’t be here without our creativity.

Using our creativity, it’s possible to help the planet and its people in a meaningful way.


Artivism is said to have started around the 1990s but art has been used throughout human history to express our thoughts and beliefs. However, it has gained a lot of popularity recently due to people wanting society to change. More and more people are choosing to become artivists.

Perhaps after reading this, you are inspired to be an activist too. The good news is that you don’t need a fancy degree or special knowledge to be an activist. All you need is a fire inside of you that wants to do something big in the world. If you have that passion and a cause that you believe in, there’s nothing stopping you.

Feeling inspired?

If you really don’t know how to start on this journey, here is a course from Skillshare from Nikkolas Smith himself. He will teach you how to create art for change and inspire you in the process.

Sofia Hadjiosif
Sofia Hadjiosif

I've always cared about the planet but never knew how I could use my skills to create an impact. But that's when I decided to start Terra Movement. To get other creatives involved in the climate movement and inspire more people to help the planet and its people.

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