Hijacking “Art Hoe”

By Sammy Park
Staff Writer

People of color have always been underrepresented in artistic communities. Even art, a platform centered around self-expression for every individual, has inherent prejudice in its roots.
As this marginalization grows increasingly apparent, it becomes more and more important for people of color in artistic fields to have a support structure. This need brought forth “Art Hoe,” a movement founded by young queer artists of color, centered around making a space in art for underrepresented communities.

Art Hoe has a high visibility on Instagram and Tumblr. The idea of a movement that was centered around creating a platform for artists of color, immediately attracted thousands of marginalized teens.

As the movement has grown, however, its purpose seems to have shifted. Introduction to white audiences has made the movement nearly synonymous with “hip” items like denim button skirts and Vincent Van Gogh socks.

Many people use and embrace the term “Art Hoe” without even attempting to educate themselves on the movement. Art Hoe is about liberating alienated groups. It is more than Kanken backpacks and distressed jeans. By making expensive markers and Mary Janes synonymous with the movement, people are excluding the marginalized artists for whom it
was created.

Privileged people consistently steal and alter movements designed for those who are oppressed. The hijacking of the Art Hoe movement is just one example of the larger issue cultural appropriation. There is a prevalent and growing pattern in society of the erasure of groups through appropriation. The way white people have claimed Art Hoe as their own demonstrates just how easy it is for groups in power to disregard marginalized groups in their entirety.