Rebel Art Manifesto
Aria-Joshes Waterford


If you want to be a successful contemporary artist you must go to the city, but in the Age of Aquarius there is Tonnes of infrastructure, especially in the Western suburbs. The Hawkesbury is considered part of Western Sydney yet when it comes to contemporary art, but it is mostly untouched. We have a gallery and an art society, but these are places mostly dedicated to traditional art. The Hawkesbury Gallery has some contemporary art exhibitions, but it would probably have more if there were more practicing contemporary artists in the Hawkesbury. The Hawkesbury is well known for its history but that doesn’t mean that it has to fall behind on the contemporary art front. I can safely say we have virtually no performance art. The closest we have is theatre.

Mostly suburban and rural areas focus on what is unique in their area when it comes to the art created in their area. In the Hawkesbury we have a regular occurrence of floods. It can be both a devastating and fascinating experience, but it is also a historical event. Floods are a natural part of our culture here, but cultures are always changing and although unique aspects of our area are worth exploring and mentioning, just because the pioneers who originally came here have died doesn’t mean we have to stop pioneering, especially when it comes to art. Rural and suburban areas can be a place for creative experimentation as much as the big cities are. Natural disasters don’t have to destroy our sense of spirit and creativity, it can also be an opportunity through adaptability and survival. Some of the most groundbreaking works evolve through the artists ability to be resilient in their personal world. 

Traditional art is traditionally beautiful. Although they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, beauty is not the only type of aesthetic present in art. Have you ever seen something so ugly that you can’t look away and it sticks in your mind because you can’t make sense of it? Or have you seen something so complex and scientific you find yourself staring at it for hours? Groundbreaking art should make you feel something in a similar fashion to the way an actor can make you feel something. You can watch an actor and feel something without also thinking “he/she wasn’t pretty enough” Art can perform in much of the same way except you’re required to ponder it for a while and discuss it. Art is meant to move you and activist art is meant to move you to take action. Rebel art is never sellable and resists the urge to be appropriated by capitalism. Rebel art stands alone appealing to societies conscience and proving there’s more to human existence than the pursuit of money.

On further investigation about the importance of Rebel Art, Albert Camus points out in his 1951 novel the Rebel ...It is those who know how to rebel, at the appropriate moment, against history who really advance its interests. Proving that the act of successful rebellion is one that moves further away from recklessness and into the light of justice. As Albert Camus further points out “Life is this dichotomy itself, the mind soaring over volcanoes of light, the madness of justice the eventuating intransience of moderation...” Rebel Art’s intervention keeps world leaders honest or alternatively exposes the dishonesty in order to help civilians choose their leaders wisely. Jacques Ranciere points out that “Politics is not the exercise of Power. Politics to be defined in its own terms as a specific mode of action that is enacted by a specific subject and that has its own proper rationality.” In this way Rebel Art interferes with power structures in order to persuade it to honesty or expose its corruption. 

Art can be bought but Rebel Art is more and often not for sale. 

Rebel Art:
Is transformational and fosters self-expression. 

Is wild and uninhibited and often leads to complete acceptance of the self. 

Doesn’t discriminate but it does easily entice a younger generation. 

Is a platform for positive change and fully embracing of democratic rights and democratic voices. 

Inspires you deep in your gut and creeps into your heart. 

Is brave despite of fear. 

Is liberating and empowering. 

Breaks rules that are violations of human rights. 

Is unapologetically powerful as it gives power to the powerless downtrodden and marginalised.

Is revolutionary. 

Simultaneously thinks of the future whilst empowering the present. 

Is inclusive and open minded.

Is a weird, bold risk taker that cannot be tamed. 

Does not pander to peoples tastes but connects with audiences’ hearts in deep and transformational ways. 

Is a vigilante in ways that cuts the red tape and digs deep into your soul so much so that you can’t walk away and do nothing. 

Stops traffic, not with beauty but with evocative design. 

Tests boundaries and limits. 

Can be comedic critiquing. 

Is provocative whilst having full agency. 

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