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Art as Protest: Challenging the New Norms of the New American Century

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Cory Clark       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   1 comment

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Dani Finger's Exhibition Passing the Torch: From Obama to Trump hangs in HighPoint Cafe's Allen Lane location
(Image by Cory Clark)
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PHILADELPHIA - Dani Finger chuckles as she recounts one woman's description of her current exhibition at HighPoint Cafe, Passing the Torch: From Obama to Trump as "disturbing." With images of Obama looking down over a mound of Skulls, vaginal motifs, what appears to be God as a stereotyped male homosexual, bombs, drones, and references to hate speech one might be inclined to agree with the sentiment. If that one had only a passing glance taken out of any sort of context.

Then again if you did take the work in context you might say the same thing for an entirely different reason.

Dani finger's painting Backs Turned
(Image by Danielle N Finger)
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A closer inspection of the painting of former president Obama presiding over a mound of skulls becomes a critique of capitalism and Obama's betrayal of his anti-imperial, anti-capitalist roots for the sake of Wall Street corporate power.

Vaginal motif's become a critique of a pervasive rape culture and rampant sexism, hate speech is extracted from the dog whistles of the Make America Great Again Cult, patriotism becomes the call to more war and the ever-growing voice of white nationalism doled out by a clown puppet in chief for the feverish consumption of his cult followers.

Throughout her work, she uses pop culture references and imagery as a criticism of the political and corporate power structure; as well as, the ever increasing destruction of democratic ideals, human and civil rights for the profit of a narrow few on the backs of a working class it purports to represent.

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Dani Finger's painting R.I.N.O.
(Image by Danielle N Finger)
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She takes a layered approach to the way she walks the viewer through her imagery and the ideas within them, sometimes overlapping often extending the commentary not just from the foreground to the middle but deep into the background of an image.

Her use of space doesn't end with the images themselves, she also seems to extend the mental space, critiquing multiple issues within a single aspect. Take President Trump's tweets which she uses not only to point out his glaring narcissism, the disdain he holds for those he sees as common or anyone who criticizes him but also as a metaphor to call attention to the part his tweet-storms play in destroying any sense of functionality within other branches of the government or the press.

Dani Finger's The Grand Wizard of KaOz
(Image by Danielle N Finger)
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Another consistent feature of her work is her use of Easter-Eggs, each of her works contains one or more images or feature hidden within, sometimes in plain sight. Viewers can return to any one of her major paintings multiple times and still find aspects they had not previously noticed.

Her playful use of imagery, complex use of dimension within each painting, ruefully enigmatic references to highlight various political and social issues of our day come together as a where's Waldo of political discourse.


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Cory Clark is a freelance photojournalist and writer focused on civil and human rights issues, social justice and politics. He is a regular contributor with Getty Images, AP and AFP. His work has appeared in, The Guardian, Fortune (more...)

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