The Joel Barkan Memorial Lecture is part of the annual Provost’s Global Forum at the University of Iowa.

2024 Joel Barkan Memorial Lecture

Artivism by Daniel Arzola: Art, Communication, and Identity

Featuring Daniel Arzola, Senior Graphic Designer, University of Minnesota

Date: Friday, February 23, 2024
Time: 3:30 - 4:30 p.m.
Location: 1117 University Capitol Centre (UCC) | University of Iowa

This lecture is part of the Provost's Global Forum: LGBTQ Youth in Global Perspective - Resistance, Resilience, Reimagination

Daniel Arzola's lecture will explore the story of how an art student ended up creating
the first LGBTQ+ campaign to appear in the media in Venezuela. The #NoSoyTuChiste
(#ImNotaJoke) campaign went viral between 2013 and 2014 and has been exhibited in different
cities worldwide. Since its creation, it has continued to be displayed in public places, including bus stops, subway stations, galleries, museums, and parks. Daniel Arzola's narrative is a queer testimony about Venezuela during the Chavista dictatorship, but it is also the voice of art as a response to a systematically violent environment. The lecture addresses the role of art within its dynamics to communicate and the democratization of art in the face of repressive societies.

Daniel Arzola

Daniel Arzola (he/they) is a Venezuelan artist and LGBTQ+ activist, renowned for his "Artivism," using art to address human rights, diversity, and equality. His project "No Soy Tu Chiste" gained global recognition and went viral during 2013-2014 for challenging stereotypes against the LGBTQ+ community. Madonna noticed and featured Arzola's work in her Art for Freedom project in 2013. Arzola's art is exhibited worldwide, and he has a permanent display at the Carlos Jáuregui station on the Buenos Aires subway, the first LGBTQ+ subway station in Latin America. 

Beyond art, Arzola actively promotes his theory of "Artivism" through conferences and workshops at universities in Venezuela, Mexico, the United States, and Canada. His colorful and bold style has made him a prominent figure in LGBTQ+ film festivals globally since 2015, designing posters for festivals in The Netherlands, Chile, Uruguay, Albania, Kosovo, and the Faroe Islands. In 2017, Arzola was awarded a Trailblazer Honors Award from Logo Tv and VH1. Currently residing in Minneapolis, he serves as a Senior Graphic Designer for the University of Minnesota.

About Joel Barkan

Joel Barkan

Joel Barkan was a serious scholar of the politics of Africa who, after his retirement from the university in 2005, went on to have a second career in Washington, D.C., as a consultant with the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the World Bank, and the Agency for International Development. He also served for several years as senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Many of the university’s faculty, staff, and administrators knew him also as a creative program-builder who made lasting contributions to international studies at the university and to the regular discussion in Iowa City of changing political, economic, and social circumstances in the world. UI faculty members who were his colleagues and who teach international studies proposed that Joel Barkan be recognized in a named annual campus lecture. The first annual Joel Barkan Memorial Lecture was given in 2015.

Past Lectures

2022Ronald Leopold, executive director of the Anne Frank House, Amsterdam
Let Me Be Myself: Teaching Anne Frank in the 21st century

Featured in the Provost's Global Forum, Teaching Anne Frank

2019 - Dr. Supriya Baily, associate professor and associate director, Center for International Education, George Mason University
School's Out - What Happens When School's Not Enough?

Featured in the Provost's Global Forum, Why School? International Perspectives on Education and Social Transformation

2018 - William S. Pretzer, senior curator for history for the Smithsonian Institution at the National Museum of African American History and Culture
“A Darker Presence”: Interpretive Goals and Collecting Strategies in the National Museum of African American History and Culture (video recording of lecture)

Featured in the Provost's Global Forum, Against Amnesia: Archives, Evidence, and Social Justice.

2017 - Gautam Yadama, dean and professor at the Boston College School of Social Work

Featured in the Provost's Global Forum, Women’s Health & the Environment: Going Up in Smoke.

2016 - H.E. Dr. Valon Murtezaj, deputy minister of foreign affairs of the Republic of Kosovo

Featured in the Provost's Global Forum, The Nation, the State, and the Global Redefinition of Self-Determination.

2015 - Shibley Telhami, the Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland and a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution

Featured in the Provost's Global Forum, The Arab Spring in a Global Context.