Do Politics and Art Mix?

As I scroll down my social media feed I spot a comment on a post by a celebrity I follow that reads something like “Keep your thoughts to yourself and stick to acting”

That comment, which looks very familiar to thousands of comments I’ve seen, especially during the last four years, triggers me. It triggers me because I’ve always thought of art as a reflection of what’s going on in the world. It triggers me, because in essence as artists we’re being told that the only value we bring to the table is entertainment. It triggers me because I grew up in Venezuela, a country in which art, music, media, and press are censored and many artists like myself were forced to leave to create our future somewhere else, away from home.

When I was 15 years old, I had the opportunity to see Pablo Picasso’s Guernica in person. I was so impressed by the sheer size of it and the way the aftermath of war is depicted. I learned that the painting was used to raise funds to fight the Spanish civil war and it’s regarded as the most important anti-war painting in the world.

It is then I learned that art is powerful. It can inspire change and it can also show us who we are.


So when I hear people tell actors, writers, musicians, filmmakers, and other artists to stop sharing their political views, it makes me a bit sad. Imagine a world in which Guernica, many paintings by Dalí, books like To Kill a Mockingbird, 100 years of Solitude, movies like Citizen Kane and Selma, and even most plays written by Shakespeare don’t exist, because artists are supposed to stay in their lane. It would be a great loss to humanity. The truth is politics are a reflection of our world. Politics affect real people, every day. I believe that as artists, it’s our job to lift our voices and speak up.

I consider myself an activist that uses art as her weapon of choice. I’ve made it my mission to fight for inclusivity, to transform the way under-represented communities are portrayed in the media, to shed light on immigration, inequality, racism, and many other issues that matter to me. When Trump launched his campaign and in the first few sentences he attacked immigrants from Mexico and other Latin American countries, I was of course infuriated, and at the same time, I knew there was work to be done. In the last four years with our company Avenida Productions, we have raised millions of dollars for hundreds of projects that directly combat the narrative being shared by the president. Many celebrities and artists have used their talent and platforms to do the same.

Tomorrow is January 20th Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United State. I know in my heart that all the collective work we have done as a community of artists made a difference, and I’m proud of the tireless actions we took to inspire and mobilize communities.

Of course, we’re not done. We must work hard to create a society that works for everyone and for that I will pick up my camera and get right back to filming.


Watch my latest film “Our Quinceañera” on Amazon


  • I am of no particular political party and of no particular religion. When people ask me a political or religious question, I answer that the world of entertainment is both my religion and my politics. They usually give me a quizzical look and are unsure whether to take me seriously. Sometimes they ask me isn’t entertainment, a form of art, that merely helps people to get through hard times, a distraction from ones problems. I usually answer that the art shows us the way things are, a reflection of reality.

    Usually they agree, and then I put another twist into the equation. I tell them I am not really interested in that form of entertainment. That is merely Art for Arts sake. I am more interested in Art for Humanity’s Sake.

    I tell them I don’t want to just show the way things are, I am interested in showing the way they could be. I am not interested in showing the problems in the world, I am interested in showing possible solutions to those problems. Those are the types of entertainment I have been involved in for the past 50 years. Only now are others telling me that this is wave of the future, the future of entertainment.

  • Wonderful piece! Let’s get to work!

  • Great advice, Fanny. It’s funny I’m writing a thriller about the alt-right, and then Jan. 6 stopped me dead in my tracks, but then I thought of Robert Capa’s photos and, like you, Guernica. Those pieces or art were and still are necessary for showing the truth in events that were horrific and painful, and too easy to brush aside and forget.

    So yes, let us pick up our pens, cameras, get on that set or stage, and get right back to creating.

  • Joe Edward Arciniega

    For me, whether artists or "civilians," the decision to speak up and speak out is a personal one that should not be judged by anyone else (or can and these days will be, but then we shouldn’t care if they do.) I say speak! Artists can as well as anyone else. Why not? Imagine if Elizabeth Taylor hadn’t spoken up as she did in the 80s about HIV and AIDs, the millions more lives that would have been lost. The millions less that would be successfully living with HIV today. Speak out, bear the consequences, because there will likely be some. But so what? My life, my choice. Yours too.

  • Well said, Fanny. Thank you. The arts have a crucial role to play in society and always have. I’ll never forget seeing a play written during the time of Nicolae Ceaușescu about what it was like for people living under one of the most oppressive communist regimes in Eastern Europe. It showed me that art can educate and creativity is empowering.

  • All art is political in one sense or another, so is anerable to hide what we feel. The last four years have been painful, there is work ahead to do hand to hand for all of us. We have dreams to accomplish. Dreams that will die if we do not fight for Democracy. The precious Democracy give us the right environment to live a happy and vibrant life.

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