WE STILL HAVE A DREAM: THE ART & POWER OF PROTEST
Photographs from the Peace and Social Justice Movements,
1980 – Present
I’ve photographed the marches and demonstrations of the peace and social justice movements from 1980 through our present day.
I see these events as American history unfolding in front of me; often ignored or underplayed by mainstream media, it feels essential to document them.
The creativity, color, and human pageantry of these events always astound me. They are street theatre, ‘living theatre” with a message – protest as a creative act.
At its heart, a march, a rally, is about who will be heard. It is about claiming, insisting, on a part in our collective discussion.
The 1980’s and 1990’s are often portrayed as decades of greed and apathy when social activism vanished; in fact, they were times that spawned vigorous and committed activism – over a rapidly escalating nuclear arms race, Three Mile Island’s threat of ecological disaster, U.S. activities in Central America and frustration over the treatment of blacks, women and same sex couples. A sea change occurred then: an awareness of how all these issues were connected. The cost of war could no longer be separated from issues of racism and poverty; the status of women reflected our relationship to the earth and its ecology. March Events became multi-issued, cutting across lines of race, sex, gender preference, economic status and age. The foundation was laid for Iraq War protests, Same Sex Marriage and the Occupy Movement.
Photography helps us witness our own history; photographs remind us of whom we were, where we’ve been, how far we’ve come. Photography’s power reminds us: what a long and remarkable journey it is towards change.
There we were. Here we are. These are pictures are of us. What is our highest and best future?
Here is the energy of possibility.
The political is personal. Our collective discussion seems more fervent, more urgent than ever.
Margaret McCarthy was named among the “Best of the Best Emerging Fine Art Photographers 2016” by BW GALLERIST. ARTZEALOUS named her one of “Four Photographers to Keep Your Eye On In 2016”. She has exhibited and published her work extensively.