Dispelling Stereotypes: Carol Coates’s Work Questions the Way We View Others

Oftentimes, artists produce work to make a comment; to let their opinions be heard about politics, social constraints, and stereotypes. Art has the unique ability to dispel and break stereotypes which we preconceived of our worlds and our lives.

Artivism – art which makes a statement regarding social issues including politics and the rights of individuals – has become a means for the artists to question our morals and biases. 

Artists exemplifying this goal to push us towards questioning our own opinions regarding stereotypes have not simply stated the morals they hope we adopt.

Instead, masked in symbolism, artists imploring this style, ask us to think deeply about the message they are sending, pushing the limits of how we see the world, and how we see others.

Witnessing the judgment and intolerability of differences in others throughout her life, Carol Coates’s work aims to reverse stereotypes and preconceived notions.

Creating vulnerable characters, Coates uses the strength of sensitivity – a characteristic we often see as a weakness – to return to humanistic notions and beliefs; before our judgments got the best of us.

Our opinions of race, gender, sexuality, and ethnicity are simply social constraints, which believably in time, can be reversed with effort. 

Using humor to create quirky characters, Carol Coates aims to reverse these stereotypes.

If we, like her characters, were to wear the glasses that Coates has created, our interpretations of characteristics would be highlighted, making us hyper aware of our insights, consciousness and wisdom of others.

Ranging in age, race, gender, and ethnicity, Coates’s characters address our perceptions of all individuals. Her characters don’t appear “normal”.

If we saw these people on the streets, most, if not all of us, would question them, judge them, for their appearance.

However, seeing them on canvas, we don’t. Why is that? Through art, Coates has normalized these characters, making us aware of the implications of our judgment and our bias in real life.

Making clear our own mistakes of judgment, Carol Coates’s glasses teach us a lesson of our own morals.

All images copyright the artist. Learn more about Carol Coates.

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