A Mouth Is Always Muzzled
"A deeply felt and passionately expressed manifesto."--Kirkus Reviews (starred)As people consider how to respond to a resurgence of racist, xenophobic populism, A Mouth Is Always Muzzled tells an extraordinary story of the ways art brings hope in perilous times. Weaving disparate topics from sugar and British colonialism to attacks on free speech and Facebook activism and traveling a jagged path across the Americas, Africa, India, and Europe, Natalie Hopkinson, former culture writer for the Washington Post and The Root, argues that art is where the future is negotiated.Part post-colonial manifesto, part history of British Caribbean, part exploration of art in the modern world, A Mouth Is Always Muzzled is a dazzling analysis of the insistent role of art in contemporary politics and life. In crafted, well-honed prose, Hopkinson knits narratives of culture warriors: painter Bernadette Persaud, poet Ruel Johnson, historian Walter Rodney, novelist John Berger, and provocative African American artist Kara Walker, whose homage to the sugar trade Sugar Sphinx electrified American audiences. A Mouth Is Always Muzzled is a moving meditation documenting the artistic legacy generated in response to white supremacy, brutality, domination, and oppression. In the tradition of Paul Gilroy, it is a cri de coeur for the significance of politically bold--even dangerous--art to all people and nations.

A Mouth Is Always Muzzled Details

TitleA Mouth Is Always Muzzled
Author
ReleaseFeb 6th, 2018
PublisherNew Press
ISBN-139781620971246
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Art, Race

A Mouth Is Always Muzzled Review

  • Rachel Rochester
    January 1, 1970
    In _A Mouth is Always Muzzled_, Natalie Hopkinson offers expansive background about the colonial history of Guyana, the aftermath of independence, and in-depth interviews with various members of the Guyanese creative class in an attempt to analyze the efficacy of art at fomenting political and social change. I was most compelled by the historical accounts of the region, which felt vibrant and lively in the way the best histories do. The on-the-ground glimpses into the lives of artists and activi In _A Mouth is Always Muzzled_, Natalie Hopkinson offers expansive background about the colonial history of Guyana, the aftermath of independence, and in-depth interviews with various members of the Guyanese creative class in an attempt to analyze the efficacy of art at fomenting political and social change. I was most compelled by the historical accounts of the region, which felt vibrant and lively in the way the best histories do. The on-the-ground glimpses into the lives of artists and activists generally did the heavy lifting to answer the book's main questions at issue: Can art drive real-world change, particularly regarding issues like racial strife, economic inequality, and political corruption? How can artists and cultural activists speak truth to power when they are afraid that their livelihoods (and sometimes their very lives) are at risk if they do so?Hopkinson's subjects are consistently world-weary, and are often cynical about the potency of art to instigate meaningful change. At the conclusion of the book, Hopkinson is perhaps less so. I would have liked to have read more data about the engagement and reach of some of the politically oriented projects detailed in the book, and I would also have liked to have had more contextualization about the arts culture in the region in general. All that said, Hopkinson has written an accessible and enjoyable investigation into some pressing and challenging questions facing those of us who are dissatisfied with the socio-political status quo the world over. As Hopkinson writes in her conclusion, "One role of the artist is to be one of these crazy people who can see a vision for the larger society and blaze a path that takes the rest of us there" (157). Perhaps, Hopkinson suggests, by considering the futures imagined by artists, we can develop new ways to take action to make them real.
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