60 minute outline

In 2011, Jean Smith and David Lester presented a short adaption of David’s graphic novel The Listener focusing on the motivation for creating political art.

“In our early years I spoke from the stage,” says Jean. “Between fairly literal songs about feminism, poverty, and housing issues, to encourage women to start bands with other women, as opposed to being audience members. The social movement known as Riot Grrrl began and its founding members cited Mecca Normal as an inspiration to its inception. We connected with audiences who were encouraged to, in this case, focus on feminist concerns using music and culture. This direct linearity of events inspired us to address the idea that it is not possible to change the world. We did change the world.”

PowerPoint: David talks about his ongoing poster series called Inspired Agitators which highlights the accomplishments of artists and activists engaged in social and aesthetic change.

Jean, the daughter of two abstract painters — her father was also an art director at an ad agency in the 1960s — talks about the self-portrait series she began at age thirteen and has continued adding to for over thirty-five years.

During the PowerPoint art exhibit Jean and David talk about the aims of both literal and abstract political art in terms of its ability to inspire progressive social change.

Art Exhibit:

Jean Smith Paintings

Jean Smith’s “Self-Portrait” series in watercolour (1973 at age 13 onward) documents the self-image of an adolescent girl through to the present, over thirty-five years later. Smith continues to examine the roles of female subject/model and artist in this ongoing series.

David Lester Drawings and Design

Small Press Publishing: Jean and David discuss their collaboration in the publishing of handmade art books, political graphics, poetry and fiction, including the award-winning poetry of Bud Osborn, a community activist from Canada’s poorest neighbourhood — Vancouver’s downtown eastside. Handmade books published by Smarten UP! & Get To The Point will be on display for discussion.


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