I look at the images and words posted by ruddy roye on his instagram account @ruddyroye and ask myself, "how am i using this platform? is it enough to simply share the stories i encounter in my day-to-day life or should i be doing more?" in earlier years - actually in earlier months - i used instagram and my blogs to express my thoughts and feelings about where my nation was going with its wars, violence, injustice and outrages against persons of color, refugees, immigrants, muslims, the poor, g**s and women. i saw my role as an artist and social activist as one and the same. i called myself a "creative activist" and felt this was how i could most effectively be an agent of change.
after the presidential election in november, things began to change for me personally. i found the more i focused on what was happening with the new administration, the more i lost myself. i became filled with anger, indignation and despair. it was only when i attended the rauschenberg residency in march and april of this year and for six weeks devoted myself entirely to creating art instead of staying informed and agitated, that i found myself again. that was when i discovered that in order to create i had to distance myself from the news and the man who is sitting in the white house. and that is where i am today.
is simply creating, enough? should i be doing more? i don't know. what i do know is that throughout history artists have managed to counter the destruction around them by staying true to their inner vision and its outer expression. in order to do that we must protect the passion that fuels our creative fire. for each of us that will take a different form. the key is to understand who we are, how we can best express the truth as we know it, while remaining compassionate, concerned and caring. that will always be enough.