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The incredible power of art to change the world

“Art can go through where other things can’t. You can’t have barriers, because it breaks through your prejudices, breaks through everything that you have as your mask…And it reaches somewhere where other things don’t. And in a world where attitudes are so difficult to change, we need a language that reaches through.” –Mallika Sarabhai

Check out some of these art pieces that address and expose some of the world’s more pressing issues!


The power that song, rhythm, and harmony have to communicate a message and enact change is incredible. Artists from all over have used their musical talents to share with the world a message of peace and unity through songs. These songs have etched themselves into history and continue to spread the beauty of their words to audiences everywhere!

Selmor Mtukudzi is an Afro-Jazz musician in Zimbabwe who uses her lyrics to address the injustices faced by girls in Zimbabwe. Mtudkudzi collaborated with ONE along with other African artists to create the song “Strong Girl Remix.” Check out the video:


Everyone is familiar with the famous photos taken by philanthropist Brandon Stanton. From New York to Pakistan, Humans of New York has captured incredibly raw human experiences, emotions, struggles, and stories—and has become a corner of the internet that can encourage people to rise up and help those in need all around the world. We picked one of Brandon’s beautiful photos from his trip to Nairobi, Kenya. If you need a good dose of restoration in humanity, check out the HONY Facebook page!


Photo credit: humansofnewyork.com


The power to take an audience through a re-creation of an experience is one of the many magical aspects of dance. Many performers use this art form to depict the injustices associated with so many social issues or to engage participants in social responsibility. Some dancers that work to bring awareness through dance include Mallika Sarabhai, Gibney Dance, and Breakdance Project Uganda:


There is nothing as sensational as the power of a book to let you travel to another world, see life through another’s eyes, or feel the pain, joy, and sadness of a character. Countless authors have used the weapon of their words to allow their readers to see the perspective of someone they would never have been able to otherwise see. (In fact, a study on the popular J.K Rowling, shows that Harry Potter readers have an increased level of tolerance and acceptance of different types of people!) Some of our favorite eye-opening books include Monique and the Mango Rains and Dancing Skeletons.


From documentaries, fiction, nonfiction, and more, films have been able to tell the inspirational stories of various characters. Some of our favorites include Girl Rising, He Named Me Malala, and Suffragette.

Other art:

There are many other forms of art, such as paintings, drawings, ceramics, and much more that contribute to creating social change. Meet Cape Town artist Kilmany-Jo Liversage, whose pieces of artwork reflect pressing issues like women’s and children’s issues.


This piece uses urban symbols made of silk ribbons and is bringing awareness to women’s and children’s issues. Photo credit: kilmanyjo.com/event/17

Feeling inspired? Use your voice and take action when you join ONE’s 7 million members to fight poverty and preventable disease!

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