• Brooke Lawler

Leaky Bucket


Artwork by Brooke Lawler

My art piece is based on the poem “Rise Like the Sun” by Ziysah von Bieberstein. Within the course Activists and Activisms, Ziysah’s poetry came up multiple times to display our main topics of solidarity and activism. With many other examples of solidarity and activism presented through course content and guest lecturers, the question of “what is activism” remains. Throughout this course, we have openly discussed what is activism and what it means to be an activist. Both questions are valid as activism may present itself in numerous forms and also hold different meanings to everyone. The fluid definition allows for those who strive for activism to continuously attempt to achieve contrasting goals.


In Ziysah’s poetry, the metaphor of being a drop in a leaky bucket is presented. The first point that strikes me about this metaphor is the potential it holds to be interpreted in various ways by different people, as well as being used in alternate situations. I received a drop in a leaky bucket as small forms of actions leading towards a larger cause, yet still feeling minuscule. In an average day scenario, the drop may be seen as someone taking small steps to solidarity. This interpretation can be seen as someone attending a protest within their city. They may feel like their attendance at this protest goes unnoticed, yet their participation is what matters the most. They are single-handedly working towards solidarity within a social issue that they believe in. Although they may feel like they are not contributing anything to a larger picture, they are. One is the strongest number. When people come together, they can create substantial movements for change. A collection of singular people can create a village. This notion can also be seen through a collection of water droplets creating a large body of water. Being one does not show your weakness as it allows us the opportunity to join something greater, even if it is two.


Being a drop in a leaky bucket can represent our singular actions falling to the bottom and immediately leaking out. The reality of being a drop in the leaky bucket is that even when the water is draining out the bottom, it’s still watering the grass. Even though you feel like your actions are not productive, they are likely helping someone even if you cannot see it. Watering the grass may mean that small acts of activism are helping someone in some way. This can be seen through small changes such as adding more garbage cans to the community. Even though this action may visually appear not to be significantly reducing littering on a global scale, the slight change can benefit local wildlife. Activism can start small and appear to have no significance, yet it is the changes that we cannot see that are most important. Without these small changes, larger forms of development cannot happen.


My art piece is an embodiment of how a leaky bucket may be viewed as a negative, but can also be perceived as a positive if viewed from a different perspective. The hole at the bottom of the bucket can symbolize all the knowledge I have attained spilling out. The importance of the hole in the bucket is that it allows me to spread my knowledge to others around me. By spreading the information I have learned from this course, I am doing what can be viewed as a small part in my activist journey. This is seen by the drop of water leaking out of the bucket adding to the growth of a small flower. Spreading knowledge to the right people can allow them to acknowledge the need for change. This can lead to the creation of a larger conversation, ultimately creating the potential for dramatic change. I believe that the metaphor of being a drop in a leaky bucket is an excellent example for those who feel like they do not deserve the title of an activist. The reality is that any act no matter the size can be seen as a form of activism. One drop of water can allow a small seed to grow into a tall and strong flower. Every drop in the leaky bucket has the potential to create change.


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