Arte Activista (Activist Art)


Arts Activism

Arts Gallery of activist and survivor art

Bandana Project on
You Tube

Clothesline Project

AIDS Memorial Quilt

Mothers of Plaza
de Mayo

Creactivista - Pinterest

Throughout the years art has played an important role in building awareness and promoting social justice. The arpillera, a form of 3-dimensional appliquéd and embroidered art created by Chilean women who suffered the brutality of the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship had a powerful influence within Chile and internationally.

While the fabric works of art preserved the memory of los desaparecidos (the disappeared people) and offered a visual account of harsh living conditions and the abuse of power, the gatherings and arpillera workshops also empowered women to promote justice within the home.

After the military coup of 1976 in Argentina, the mothers of desaparecidos, those who were kidnapped tortured and murdered for not supporting the dictatorship, created a grassroots effort to defy the military regime. Under extremely difficult conditions, they chose a public area to meet and decided to wear a white handkerchief on their head to identify each other. This became the internationally known symbol of the mothers of the Plaza de Mayo.

The white pañuelo or bandana has recently been adopted by another social justice campaign to raise awareness about the problem of workplace sexual violence against farmworker women in the United States.

The Bandana Project

In 2007 Esperanza, of the Southern Poverty Law Center launched the Bandana Project, a national campaign that mobilizes community members to decorate white bandanas to increase public consciousness about the sexual exploitation of women who have to hide their gender to stay safe in the fields.


The Bandana Project was born from the plight of farmworker women who have said that they use their clothes – layers of oversized shirts, baggy pants, and bandanas, to protect them from sexual harassment and other forms of sexual violence in the workplace. It is a public display of support for victims and survivors of this violence.

A study by Maria Elena Treviño found that 90% of female farmworkers in California surveyed in 1993 said sexual harassment was a serious problem. The range of open and in some cases ‘normalized’ sexual violence that farmworker women suffer includes:

Raped by supervisors
Sexual propositions by supervisors to get or keep jobs
Rubbing of the genital areas
Pinching and slapping of the buttocks
Constant sexual harassment in the form of obscene jokes and sexual innuendos
In one case referenced in the Southern Poverty Law Center report, the farmworkers, referred to a particular company’s field as the "fil de calzón," or "field of panties," because so many women had been raped by supervisors there.

Arte Sana is pleased to announce a call for art in collaboration with the Esperanza National Initiative to End Workplace Sexual Violence Against Farmworker and Other Low-Wage Immigrant Women.

Arte Sana’s call for Bandana art is open to all artists working in any medium including but not limited to: fabric, drawing, painting, prints, photographs, decoupage, collages and small sculptures which may depict the bandana as a medium for awareness.

In cooperation with the Banda Project Campaign, Arte Sana will create jpeg images of select entries for Arte Sana’s Visual Arts Gallery of activist and survivor art, and will later send the works of art to Esperanza for further use in future campaigns and promotion documents.

For more information regarding the Bandana Project please contact

Download the SAAPM TOOLKIT 2011 Community Engagement Through the Arts

A Collaboration between Arte Sana and the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA)


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