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SXSW 2021

Dissent, Art, and Revolution

Artistic expression has shaped cultures all over the world, especially during times of turmoil and chaos. For people living under authoritarian regimes, art is a powerful tool in expressing dissent, and taking a stand against oppression. It is through art and creativity that people living under these regimes are able to stretch their civic imagination and envision an alternative life. By showing people that freedom and a democratic future is possible, dissident art drives movements in their efforts to bring about change. Art also creatively exposes human rights abuses that otherwise would be ignored, impacting global culture and politics. This panel will feature a variety of artists to discuss the role of art in challenging authoritarianism for the next decade and beyond.

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  1. How do dissent and art intersect in countries with authoritarian regimes, and what is the role of art and creative expression in political movements?
  2. How have film, visual, comedic, and other forms of art been used globally to challenge the rise of authoritarianism?
  3. What are the responses of authoritarian regimes to dissident art, the obstacles they present, and the tactics used by activists to overcome them?



Malaak Jamal, Policy Officer, Human Rights Foundation

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