Innovator: Tania Bruguera

Artist-activist
Tania Bruguera
Tania Bruguera Hector S. Martinez

Visitors to the Tate Modern really have to work for Tania Bruguera’s art: Dozens of people must lie down together to generate enough body heat to reveal a portrait of a Syrian refugee that’s hidden in the floor. In another room, a compound pumped into the air literally brings museumgoers to tears in a show of “forced empathy,” as the Cuban artist calls it. “More than ever, we have to work together, and instead of seeing fear, we should see migrants and refugees as people. I wanted to highlight the need to rethink how to feel [compassion] for others.” Recently jailed for protesting Cuba’s censorship laws, Bruguera says her art is intrinsically tied to her activism. “My art is inspired by injustice. Justice and freedom are the most beautiful feelings there are. Once you have experienced [them], you are transformed.”

About the program

We’re saluting innovators who have developed creative solutions to the problems that face our world—pollution, economic disparity, war, discrimination and more. Say hello to the creative class of 2019.