Exploring themes of automation, immigration, and humanity, Carolina Silva won a first-place award in WSU’s 2021 Art for Social Change
Silva is a second-year graduate student in the Department of Apparel, Merchandising, Design, and Textiles focusing on automation-driven manufacturing technologies and functional design apparel.
The competition and showcase, held by the School of Languages, Cultures, and Race, featured visual and literary art in a range of media that calls attention to the inequalities that persist in our world, highlighting submissions that provoke, challenge, and inspire.
Silva’s two-painting submission, “Technophobia,” explores themes of the fear of advanced technology, the experience of undocumented immigrants, and how technological change creates a bias against lower-skilled workers.
The competition presented an outlet for Silva to tell a story and connect with a wider audience.
“Art is a cryptic form of storytelling and broadcasting,” Silva said. “It can stir up emotions and perspectives that one might not have considered, or can simply be appreciated for the technical creation it is.
While not intentional, Silva’s artwork often makes viewers feel uncomfortable. Her competition canvasses present perspectives of disbelief and uncertainty through the viewpoint of undocumented immigrants and unskilled workers.
“Change is constant, growth is optional,” Silva said. “I want the viewers to experience confusion and curiosity that leads to a discussion. Just like a good book, there are many interpretations of the plot in this story.”
Silva is now developing a functional design jacket for children with sensory challenges, a personal protective equipment jumpsuit for adults, and several art and design projects as she works on her master’s degree.
“I am always on the lookout for art opportunities, such as The Art for Social Change competition, that will inspire me to experiment with new mediums and deliver new perspectives,” she said.
See additional winners and categories in the competition winners page.