Mia Kirshner is best known for her work as a television and film actress. She has played leading roles in Love and Human Remains, Exotica and The Crow: City of Angels as well as the award-winning television series 24. In 2008, Kirshner published I Live Here with Random House/Pantheon. In the book, she documents women and children refugees in Chechnya, Ciudad Juárez and Malawi. It was co-produced with Adbusters collaborators Paul Shoebridge and Michael Simons and features comic and graphic work by Joe Sacco and Phoebe Gloeckner. Proceeds from I Live Her Here go to Amnesty International. Kirschner studied Russian literature and 20th-century film industry at McGill University in Montreal.
Question: What is art’s role in changing the world?
Kirshner: I can only answer this question for the role that art has had in my life and why I wanted to do this book. I think when you see something that you relate to a story, that you relate to it makes you feel less lonely in this world. I think art has the ability to mobilize and inspire and make people aspire. So, I mean, that’s the great place of art. I think art makes us better and I think there was, for me, a real gap in the issue of human rights and the lack of, I don’t know, accessible art, I guess that could sort of make people understand and relate to these stories in ways in which they would perhaps do something and to stop it. Is it funded enough? No, no. It’s really been very difficult and it should be funded. For so many reasons because without art it’s a flat society, we need that, we need that inspiration, and without art, our world is a dead place. So, you know, and the role of amateur art or out sometimes, I think of it as outsider art that has a tremendous place. It release us a lot about the culture somebody comes from and there’s something really raw and pure about having somebody who is not trained just write and just photograph. It’s almost like a smudge that’s so fresh you can touch it, and that’s why and that’s why I believe in this so much.