"As societies build walls of separation between communities,
ICAAD works to remove each brick to illuminate our common humanity"

Artist Advocates Explore Art & Discrimination

Artist advocates explore the intersection of art & discrimination illuminating injustice through the universal language
ICAAD celebrates its first year with an art exhibition, live music, and silent art auction

NEW YORK, December 19, 2012 – The art exhibition, “Exploring the Intersection of Art and Discrimination,” celebrated ICAAD’s first year of protecting the rights of vulnerable communities. Using the universal language of art, talented artists exhibited their work on issues of women’s rights, minority rights, disability rights, racial identity, and religious freedoms to benefit ICAAD, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to combat structural discrimination and to promote human rights norms through the use of domestic and international law.

ICAAD is partnering with artists around the world to bring human rights awareness to the global village. Hansdeep Singh, Director of Legal Programs at ICAAD said, “Art provides a refuge from the disquietude that results from the grave topic of discrimination. It allows an individual to go beyond the pain and understand the context for why we continually struggle as a society to overcome inequality. Art raises awareness of the value of human dignity, an inalienable right that doesn’t exist for many of the world’s vulnerable populations.”

art and discrimination

In response to seeing her work being hosted in the gallery, Rebecca DiTota said, “I feel that art is one of the greatest expressions understood by all, and that my photography would best demonstrate what I wanted to convey. My pieces were inspired by my handicapped brother and the discrimination he faces in school and in society as a whole. It was a true honor to have my work displayed, and participating in the event is a memory I will never forget.”

The exhibition was also a fundraiser for ICAAD, with proceeds of the silent auction being divided by the non-profit and the artists. Some of the art work that was exhibited is still available, please contact us if you are interested.

View photos and video of the art, music, and gallery.

The gallery included the work of eleven artists from around the US and Canada: Oregon, N. Carolina, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Florida, Michigan, and Toronto. The event featured 26 pieces for sale and also included live music by socially conscious performers including: Anya Skidan, K-Sise & Junclassic, and Alycea and the X-Isles.

art and discrimination“This piece depicts two Sikh women, both wearing different articles of faith, a dastaar (turban) and a chuni (headscarf).”The French ideals of Liberty, Equality, and Brotherhood are called into question by the piece which highlights the 2004 French legislation preventing those belonging to minority faiths from manifesting their religious identity. “The women are gagged in this piece to symbolize the legislation silencing their voices and identity,” said artist Lakhpreet Kaur.

This is the first step in ICAAD’s development of a traveling art and discrimination exhibition which will, in time, be held in various places around the world.  We are expanding our artist base to various countries to raise awareness about discrimination in places where ICAAD is engaged in advocacy or litigation.

Dua by Amit Kaur

Dua by Amit Kaur

View photos and video of the art, music, and gallery.


This Civil Rights and Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we’d like to challenge you to reflect on how fear may have influenced your opinions, especially of others, and to take a step towards the courage to overcome those fears. Why the focus on fear you might ask?

Famed marketer and author Simon Sinek in his book “Start with Why” outlines six typical manipulations used in sales and marketing, one of which is the use of fear. On fear, Sinek says, “When fear is being employed, facts are incidental. Deeply seated in our biological drive to survive, that emotion cannot be quickly wiped away with facts and figures.”

In the current political atmosphere, in the U.S. and around the globe, fear is often used by politicians and campaigners to polarize debates and to demonize marginalized communities, using them as scapegoats for the real economic, social, and political challenges that societies face.

Martin Luther King, Jr. understood how important fear is, so much so that he gave a sermon on it named “Antidotes for Fear.” It’s worth reading in its entirety, especially because it recognizes the importance, necessity, and creativity of fear (kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/draft-chapter-xiv-mastery-fear-or-antidotes-fear). However, particularly pertinent section was highlighted by King’s wife Coretta Scott King in her book “My life with Martin Luther King, Jr”:

“First Martin spoke of the many kinds of fear that troubled men and women in this period of change and "calamitous uncertainty"— fear of illness or economic disaster, fear of personal inadequacy in our highly competitive society. More terrible was the fear of death, even racial annihilation, in this atomic age, when the whole world teetered on "a balance of terror . . . fearful lest some diplomatic faux pas ignite a frightful holocaust."

"Some fears are normal and necessary," he said, like the fear of snakes in a jungle, but when they become neurotic and unchecked, they paralyze the will and reduce a man to apathy or despair. He quoted Emerson, who wrote, "He has not learned the lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear."

How, then, to overcome fear? First, Martin said, "We must un-flinchingly face our fears . . . this confrontation will, to some measure, grant us power. . . . "Second, we can master fear through one of the supreme virtues known to man— courage . . . courage is the power of the mind to overcome fear.”"

MLK Coretta Scott King Simon Sinek
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