Krzystof Wodiczko, Tijuana Projection, 2001. Public video projection at the Centro Cultural Tijuana, Mexico. Organized as part of the event InSight 2000.
© Krzystof Wodcizko. Courtesy Galerie Lelong, New York.
Compassion is a feeling born out of a deep awareness
of the misfortune of others, usually accompanied by a
strong desire to alleviate suffering.
Feeling someone else’s misfortune deeply
and wanting to make things better for them
is called compassion. Although the word
reminds us of difficult things, actions like
creating art prompted by compassion can be
constructive and positive. Compassion allows
us to imagine what it is like to be in another
Ask your students if they have ever witnessed a news event or an advertisement
that makes them want to help animals, other
people, or the environment. Ask them if they
have felt compassion for a friend or family member going through a tough time or
someone being bullied.
Artists are sometimes drawn to creating
art that brings the public’s attention to situations that are oppressive for others. They give
viewers an opportunity to become aware of
what’s happening and develop empathy for
In considering the work of such artists, we
may ask ourselves important questions like,
“Who or what is involved in this situation?”
“What conditions are at play?” “What might
the subjects be feeling?” “What can be done
to make things better?” Thinking about the
answers to these questions can lead to rich
discussion and help students become more
compassionate in their own work.