arts and pop culture | September 01, 2014

"Beauty is a Reason to Fight": Journalist-Artist Molly Crabapple on Summer 2014

In a moving new essay for Vice, artist and writer Molly Crabapple reflects on what she calls "a summer of monsters"—a series of difficult and disturbing events that have brought much sadness, and that compel us to seek the beauty in our world.

She writes about Mike Brown and the protests in Ferguson, and the violence against black people that is still ongoing across America. She writes about learning of James Foley's death, the photojournalist who was executed by ISIS. She writes about the conflict in Israel and Palestine, and about her inability to look away. "Writing about others' trauma bears no relation to living it. Yet I was a ruin more and more," she writes. "We need beauty. But what right did I have, I kept asking myself, in a world so full of hell?" Crabapple has taken her sketchbook from Abu Dhabi to Turkey, Lebanon, and Syria to Guantanamo Bay, observing and making art about the things she sees and people she meets. It is a new, innovative form of journalism-through-art.

We must accept the events of the world, says Crabapple, and recognize that our survival despite them is beautiful. "The world is connected now," she says. "Where it breaks, we all break. But it is our world, to love as it burns around us. Beauty is survival, not distraction. Beauty is a way of fighting. Beauty is a reason to fight."

In her talks, Molly Crabapple speaks on the direct ways that making art contributes to political movements—by adding the visceral and immediate power of images to the words and ideas that drive political engagement. And, she helps us recognize the opportunity to do more, and make a difference. To book Molly Crabapple as a speaker for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency.