The Use of Art to Advocate for Human Rights

You can change the world through art. To do so, you need to change the views of people, one at a time. But art can do more than change the views of people.

Most artists can advocate for human rights even without their knowledge. The world needs more human rights advocates especially now that culture follows many people in the world. With culture, the LGBT community is seen as an outlier with many people still borrowing life lessons from the ancestors‘ book. But, we cannot live in the past.

What are Human Rights?

Human rights are universal. Each human being deserves to be treated with dignity and respect by other human beings irrespective of their political affiliation, gender, sexual orientation, skin color, origin, or any other factor. With human rights, we are all the same and we deserve the same opportunities and the same treatment everywhere we go.

The sad truth is, however, that some people are not able to enjoy these human rights may be due to their gender or sexual orientation. Another challenge is that some people do not know about their rights. There is a need, therefore, for people to understand their rights so they know when they are violated. Education on basic human rights will help violators appreciate other human beings and the violated learn to speak out when someone infringes on their basic human rights.

This is where human rights activists and artists come in; there is work to be done.

How Can Artists Help?

Artists are advocates of human rights; most through their work and some through their actions. In most instances, artists create pieces that advocate for human rights without even realizing it. In its basicity, art is humane. Many of the values that art seeks to promote are values promoted by human rights. If education on human rights drew its inspiration from art, people would understand their rights better.

How can art help?

  • Art brings people from different backgrounds together. These people can co-exist without the thought of who they are outside of the confines of art. For instance, people dancing to a sweet song in a club are so taken by the song to remember who dancer next to them are.
  • Art promotes love. People who have a passion for art, say musicians will look past cultural boundaries and reach out to other artists and their fans. Artists do not choose fans and their fans love them irrespective of their gender or sexual orientation.
  • Art is a way of expression. It is through art that people can portray the beauty of humans and to encourage everyone to be proud of humanity while seeking to advance it.

Art Tells Stories of People for People

Through different forms of art, artists can speak to people about what human rights are; sometimes the message is direct (like love one another) and other times the message is not direct. Painters display their work at one of the largest viewing areas in Hawaii and as people explore nature, they enjoy work.


You can start by looking at literature as a way of telling stories and teaching about human rights. Readers are drawn towards books with characters that they can relate to. These readers get to live in the stories of great writers and learning to see the world through the eyes of the writers. You can understand what human rights mean by living through someone’s story. The books teach that regardless of where you come from, gender, religion, race, or sexual orientation, we all deserve fundamental human rights.

Books come from different parts of the world teaching us the diversity of human beings. If you ever read a book where a character was tortured because they were different, then you know how it feels to have someone infringe on your rights.


Music tells the stories that language cannot. Music is a common ground when two or more people cannot see eye to eye. People may not speak the same language but can enjoy the same type of music.
Other forms of art have the same effect as music and literature. Poetry has the same effect as music. However, poetry calls on social ills directly, sometimes critiquing violators of human rights more than it entertains. Paintings bring people of all races, genders, and religious affiliations together.


Art is created from a point of love; which is why most people take art with love and hold it dear to their hearts. If people loved each other the way they loved art and artists, then everyone would be happy would respect and treat other human beings with dignity.
Even as artists do their part in advocating for human rights, awareness is still important. People need to know of their rights – these can be taught through art and many other platforms. The way you treat your best way should be the same way you treat any member of the LGBT community.