Artist Spotlight: Ani Cassellius

Ani Cassellius, staff writer

This piece is a screenprint of the villain Kuvira from the animated TV series Avatar: The Legend of Korra. Kuvira is a colonizer who is trying to control or “unite” all of the Earth Kingdom into a single Earth Empire. I enjoy the political nature of this TV show and love it when art and politics come together in ways that are entertaining and compelling. This piece is meant to emulate a piece of propaganda that could possibly exist in that universe. I hope people look at this piece and see an intimidating figure, and if they have seen the show, understand that this is a person who prioritizes power and control over the needs of people.

I know that today we see all kinds of political messages and it is important to have the literary skills to critique what is being given to us. Understanding art’s role in politics is something I care a lot about. As an artist and an educator, I strive to share art’s meaning with others. Art is similar to politics in that it is something that exists in our everyday lives; it is imperative that we know how they relate to one another and how to consume it in a healthy way.

Telling stories and creating art are ways of coping with and processing life around us. A lot of storytelling, politics, art making and life revolves around the human construct of good and evil. This is something that I think is addressed in Legend of Korra in a successful way. Any successful art piece or story embraces nuance but ultimately understands what is good for people. Legend of Korra succeeds at that. We are in a movement right now where there are a lot of people rising up for the good of the people. It is hard sometimes, but I believe in the good of people. I see it everyday. Learning to see and do good in the world is not something learned just from life experience but also media. That’s why I hope to educate and create art that stimulates critical thinking about life.