Daniel Arzola, an “artivist” from Venezuela is using the power of art to fight forms of discrimination, including homophobia.
Arzola started the “I’m Not a Joke” campaign, which features a collection of 50 posters with a digital illustration and the campaign’s tagline. The campaign is known as “No soy tu chiste” in Spanish, and has appeared in several countries, including Venezuela, Brazil, the U.S. Russia, Uganda and Australia, as well as 24 other countries. The posters have been translated by expert David Osio into several languages as well, including Portuguese and English.
In an interview with the Washington Blade on April 14, Arzola said that the campaign is all about being different, and celebrating those differences. The interview was conducted at Amherst College, where an LGBT student group invited Arzola to be a guest speaker and Osio to do the translation.
Daniel Arzola is a native of Maracay, which is around 70 miles southwest of Caracas, the capital of Venezuela. He states that he was very shy as a child, and came out to his mother when he was just five years old. When his mother learned that Arzola was gay, she beat him, hoping that this would change his homosexual tendencies. Arzola shares that his mother, a teacher, is now accepting of him, and is his biggest fan. He credits his determination to stay true to himself, as well as his “I’m Not a Joke” campaign, for helping those close to him to be more open-minded.