Project 2 (Combining visual elements) – Exercise 2

Re-contextualising images

collage 1collage 2collage 3collage 4

I decided to focus on the current issue of the penalisation of abortion in the Dominican Republic. The president proposed the decriminalisation of abortion under certain circumstances, namely rape, abduction, incest, or a congenital malformation of the foetus. The Catholic Church holds a strong position that all types of abortion should be illegal and condemned, stating that abortion is one of the worst possible crimes of humanity and compared it to the mafia and other “crimes”, such as debauchery in young people, lesbianism and homosexuality. At the same time, they criticise gender inequality and feminicide.

In these four digital collages, I have placed the faces of the bishops that claim to be advocates of women rights over the faces of pregnant women and mothers as they sit in the waiting rooms of our underfunded (often inhumane) hospitals. I think I was able to communicate a social commentary about women rights and how we have little power over our own bodies, even when subjected to violence or crime. We also lack political power as it is mostly men (e.g. the government or the church) that do the thinking for us and finally get to decide what’s wrong and what’s right.

From other artists I was able to see that the most successful collages are those that are able to express a strong, clear opinion about something or someone. It can be very powerful to distort an already existing image through the use of icons, symbols and familiar faces that we already associate with specific events, messages or people. By combining, cutting, adding, and/or replacing elements in an image, the message is distorted.

I really enjoyed this exercise, especially since I have always shied away from expressing any political/social commentary through art before. Collage is a medium that I’ve always been fond of, so finding a way to use it to express an important message was very valuable to me.

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