Art & Politics

Here we show well-known (in some cases famous) examples of how artists have tackled political themes and concerns in their work. These reflect how art and politics have come together in different eras, worldwide. This is art with a conscience.

We hope these inspire you to send your own works to us for display in our Main Gallery (here). For guidance on how to send us your work please see 'Show Your Work Here'.

Any work you contribute to Red Line Art Works will automatically be considered for our Annual Awards (more here).

Note : Why not get involved by writing a piece for this section on how art tackles the political aspects of life on our planet (see 5 here) ? Don't forget - we are open to examples in all art forms and creative media, in all eras, worldwide.


Please note that some of these include videos from other websites (e.g. YouTube or Vimeo) and may contain adverts. We have no control over these adverts appearing. Just click the 'cross' in the top right-hand corner of the advert to remove it.

Visual Arts in the West by Iain Biggs, UK (2019)

Views from India - The challenge of Amitav Ghosh’s ‘The Great Derangement : Climate Change and the Unthinkable’, and reflections on two Venerable Indian Artists ...more

Unravelling and Re-working Aspects of Ireland’s Past and Present Struggles (2017-) by Nikkita Morgan (Ireland)

How does an artist of today tackle the injustices of the disastrous British-fuelled conflict in Ireland, whilst the fragile Peace process (in place since 1999) is being put at risk - right now - by the British government ? ...more

Installation : 'Withdrawn' by Luke Jerram, UK (2015)

How did these boats get here ? This poetic, multi-dimensional and thought-provoking work posed many questions for visitors about : climate change, collapse of the fishing industry, etc ...more

Video : Banksy - Make this the Year YOU Discover a New Destination (2014)

Powerful scenes from the visit made to Gaza by the British street and graffiti artist Banksy, including images of street art, some newly made by Banksy. ...more

Performance : Video of 'Parts Per Million' by Liberate Tate, London, UK (2013)

This performance critiques sponsorship of the Tate Gallery by the BP Oil corporation while the Tate claims to ‘demonstrate leadership in response to climate change’ - Hypocrisy and double standards ? ...more

A Contemporary View from Romania by Manuela Vulpescu of SWARTE (2013)

Here is a contemporary Artist's Statement from the Romanian duo SWARTE's Art collection: ‘One square meter of roots’ ...more

Video : Occupy Wall Street (U.S.) the 'No Comment 1 Art Show' (2011)

This introduces the Art Show organised to accompany the Occupy Wall Street campaign in New York and it exemplifies the close integration of art with social and political concerns. ...more

Video : Phuket Artists on Global Warming & Environmental Issues (2011)

in 'Human and Earth' a group of independent artists from the Malay Peninsular in Thailand exhibit work about global warming and critical issues of environmental degradation ...more

Video : Bag Art, NYC Streets, Polar Bears and Global Warming (2008) by Joshua Allen Harris (U.S.A.)

How can some waste plastic bags and sticky tape bring beauty and thoughts of climate change to people walking along a city street ? Here's how ...more

Performance : Video of The Yes Men (U.S.A.) 'Interview' about the Bhopal Disaster (2004)

What happened when the Yes Men pretended to be Dow Chemicals, then invited the world’s media to interview them about the 1984 Bhopal Disaster (one of the world’s worst ever industrial disasters) ? ...more

Video Installation : 'Turbulent' (1998) by Shirin Neshat (Iran / U.S.A)

Using two screens this powerful video installation presents and dramatises the strict social segregation and differences in human rights between men and women in Iranian culture ...more

Animation : Felix in Exile (1994) by William Kentridge (South Africa)

How does one of this country's top artists tackle, with drawings in charcoal, the multiple complexities and injustices of the Apartheid regime and its crippling after-effects on the country ? ...more

Song : Television The Drug of The Nation (1992) by The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy

In case we in 'developed' countries forget : Most of the content of most TV channels (and all of the content of many) is designed to get us to be submissive consumers of someone else's ideas... ...more

Poster : 'Q: And Babies ? A : And Babies.' (1969) by the Art Workers Coalition (U.S.A.)

This Poster brought into focus some of the outrage felt around the world about this atrocity committed by U.S. forces at My Lai in Vietnam during the U.S.A.'s war there ...more

Songs and the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S.A. (Various artists)

The struggle for Civil Rights by black people in the U.S.A is an epic (and ongoing) struggle for justice and equality. These songs have kept hope, strength, truth and integrity alive - and also been an inspiration to other people's struggles around the world. ...more

Painting : Pablo Picasso's 'Guernica' (1937)

This is possibly the best-known piece of political art yet created and has had a political significance up to the present day. ...more

Various art forms : Kathe Kollwitz (1867-1945) - dealing with poverty, hunger, suffering, death and the tragedy of wars

A courageous and internationally recognised German artist who, for over six decades in her art works, confronted social injustice and suffering, sometimes under extreme pressure from the Nazis ...more

Painting : The Execution of Maximilian by Edouard Manet (1867-9)

Edouard Manet was politically observant and critical (though not an activist) in his art works. This painting looks backwards - for example to Goya, and forward to Picasso's 'Guernica'. ...more

Honoré Daumier's Images of Poverty in France (1830s)

These images resonate with poverty in our own times, not only in the poorest parts of the world but also as poverty exists now within 'developed' countries. ...more

Painting : The Massacre at Chios by Eugène Delacroix (1822)

This painting by the French artist Eugène Delacroix deals with a massacre on the Island of Chios in the Aegean sea when tens of thousands of men, women and children were killed by Ottoman troops. ...more

Prints : Goya's 'The Disasters of War' (1810-20) & the first War Photography

This series of 82 prints by Goya mark him as a very courageous artist and contain many of the elements that were to distinguish the best of later war photography and photojournalism. ...more

Painting : Brueghel's 'Massacre of the Innocents' (1565-7)

Brueghel the Elder found a way to reflect the truth about oppression while living under the Oppressor's nose. ...more

The Bayeaux Tapestry (1070-80)

Is it simply a very large visual historical record of a major event, or a vital and beautiful work of art ? ...more