Been thinking about ”advocacy art,” following a back and forth with Sefton in the comments to this post.
It seems to me that ”advocacy art” is just another term for “engaged literature” (littérature engagée per coinage of Sartre, more on that in this post), but it seems to narrow the focus much more on to the artist. Trying to work out why that is.
I think of advocacy art as created by a member of the community being advocated for — so (to illustrate extremely) a female rape victim would create on behalf of abused girls and women; a discriminated-against Western Muslim for the Muslim community at large; a disenfranchised African-American for victims of racism generally, etc.
When I think of littérature engagée, I think of broader, universally human themes — workers unite, maybe, or humans unite against the tyranny of the gods sort of thing.
I think of “transcendent” artists, not targeted, (single-issue?) “local” artists.
(And I realize that local particulars can, and often do, illustrate huge universal truths, but that seems an issue apart to me here.)
I wonder. Does belonging to an oppressed community require that one’s creative fealty be sworn to that community? What are the moral and spiritual imperatives here?