These women are clearly embracing each other romantically and their embrace showcases their bodies in such a natural state that would never be shown in mediums such as mainstream magazines. What I mean by this is their skin is folded, “fat” is shown, and they’re not posed for beauty but they’re posed to showcase their loving embrace. I truly believe that this piece is layered with meaning. At first glance you notice the clear juxtaposition between the surrounding collage and the women.
For one, the collage has seams in varying places and the piece that includes the women has not one seam but the one that surrounds them in order to connect them to the rest of the collage. Another difference between the centerpiece and the rest of the collage is the very apparent use of color and detraction of color. While the background pieces of nature are vibrant with color, the women in the foreground are stripped of it. This clearly makes a statement about the importance of the two women being the focal point of the piece while the rest is set merely as a background.
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In this way, Mescaline begins to develop a relationship between the women and the rest of the piece which one could call nature or let it stand for the term “natural”. While the women are almost touching that which is natural and seem to have a very close relationship to it, they are still detached in some way. This speaks to the relationship that the LIGHT community has to the rest of what one could deem “mainstream society. ” While LIGHT members are a part of the human race and often participate in the workforce, governments, politics, etc. Hey are still somehow kept apart by the ways in which “mainstream society’ chooses to address them. To delve even further into the work, both the women within the photograph are both African American. This puts these women into two categories that struggle thin the social Justice realm far more than someone who is not a minority or who doesn’t identify as a member of the LIGHT society. I began to ask myself why this piece was so strong to me and how could it be recreated to target one specific group?
While analyzing the piece I realized that the community that it subjected was a very specific one, mainly African American women within the LIGHT community. How could I recreate this piece in order to get “participants to willingly engage in a dialogue from which they extract enough critical and experimental wealth to walk away feeling enriched, perhaps even claiming some ownership of the experience or ability to reproduce it with others. “l How would I recreate this piece so that it “is context bound and addresses real life problems? “2 1 begin with the piece itself and the issues it represents.
It represents the struggle and the unwilling detachment of African-American women that belong PAR Social Justice By lacquering that targeting an audience before the piece actually detracts from the piece’s freedom, in this case I need to seriously contemplate what community would be best o target. I want to target a community that African-American women within the LIGHT realm are integrated within yet disconnected from. I wouldn’t want to choose a community that does not normally encounter LIGHT African-American women and on the other hand I would not want to choose a community in which LIGHT African- American women are fully accepted either.
So let’s say that Community X exists and there’s a lot of unacknowledged prejudice within this community surrounding LIGHT African-American women. I would enter the community and start a dialogue with a coal organization that these women belong to and are involved in. I would spend a couple of days talking to the women who are willing to participate and are outspoken about their experiences within the community to gather what exactly it is that they’re struggling with. How do people treat them? Why do they feel people treat that way. Is it because they’re African American? Is it because they belong to the LIGHT community?
Is it both of these factors that seem to make them feel isolated within the larger community? With these questions I am already directly engaging with hose women in a way that’s considered “collaborative participation. “3 Although these questions may be considered simply research, I am directly engaging the women in order to shape the framework in which the piece I have selected will be recreated. While I do intend on having the piece look exactly like the original, “the ‘women share’ responsibility for developing the structure and content of the work in collaboration and direct dialogue”4 with me.
As I mentioned before, after this surface interview process that may take place over days so as to gather enough data which loud then become a part of the project. All discussions will be recorded and these videos will serve as a preface when showcasing this SEA project to others at say a convention. I would show the women the aesthetic end result of the piece and propose the idea of recreating the piece in mural form. Who is the audience for this mural? How does it begin to inspire the larger community to self-reflect and start a dialogue about these issues?
From what the women tell me about the community at large, the audience will be determined but ultimately it becomes anyone within the immunity who harbors some type of prejudice towards African-American LIGHT women. I would then ask the women about an area within the vicinity of their places of work and homes that has room for a mural. Ideally we would find a location that sponsors art such as a museum, collaborative studio space, or something along those lines. After discussion with the women, I would spend x amount of time hunting for permission to paint in one of these locations.
Once this location is obtained and a wall decided on, it would be time to engage the public directly. How do we do this? We design flyers and invite the public to come to an exhibition opening that concerns public affairs. This is an act of involuntary participation which is discussed in Hauler’s chapter on antagonism. I would want the public affairs aspect explicitly stated because if not, something like this is limited to only those visitors who like and engage art regularly. With this I would add the detail that there will be an open community forum afterwards.
While it would make sense to have the event could cause the audience that participates to dwindle. Instead I would make up a fake organization. To allow word to spread properly and have all the flyers posted in popular places throughout the community, the event date would be 3 weeks away from the final day of flyer distribution. I would have the women help me designate flyer spots that would attract the most attention as they know their community best. Once flyers are distributed, it would be time to prep the women to be able to engage in the piece on the day of the gallery event.
In this time I would prep the women to help me create the mural in this gallery. I would give each woman a section of the overall piece that he would be in charge of installing on the day of the exhibition. The piece at large would be recreated via screen printing so it is exactly like the original. This means that the original piece would be divided and printed on large sized sheets of newsprint paper. I would show the women with practice pieces how to wheat paste so that they’re all well versed on how to execute the original piece of art.
Then we would designate a sequence of the pieced and I would assign each woman or groups of women one piece to be in charge of. This means that on the day of in a previously rehearsed and agreed to order the women would put up each piece of the artwork in order to create the whole piece after the sequence is over almost like a puzzle. The 3 week interval that was previously assigned allows enough time to develop technique and rehearse the sequence multiple times. We would also discuss having the footage (what was previously recorded as research) on display during the process of putting up the piece on the day of the gallery opening.
On the actual gallery opening day, the women would become performers. They would put up each wheat pasted portion of the overall piece while those attending re watching and the footage of their interviews is being played on a separate wall. The use of this piece and the fact that it features two women intertwined that are also naked creates an element of antagonism which is mentioned in Pablo Hauler’s book. “Confrontation implies taking a critical position on a given issue without necessarily proposing an alternative.
Its greatest strength is in raising questions, no in providing answers. “5 While the audience may have expected to come and speak about public affairs and look at art, they’re confronted with two different modes of information. One the one hand they’re hearing the women previously interview talk about their struggles within the community and how this makes them feel. On the other, they’re physically faced by the women putting up a piece of art that presents what some in the community might consider wrong or at least not something they would care to look at.
The goal here is not to entice the audience to come to like the piece. It is simply the act of self-reflexivity and questioning the way they treat these women that are a part of their community. The idea is that they’re confronted with omitting that they’re uncomfortable with (the piece), then they put a real face to the subject of the piece (the women), and on top of that they’re confronted with the women’s struggles and feelings (the interviews). After the piece is completely installed by the women, it is time to engage the audience in conversation.
I would ask the women to leave because while having their perspectives actively involved in the conversation would be interesting I don’t want room I would simply propose a question to the audience. “How did this make you feel? ” This is a way of putting their reactions and emotions as they’re still being recessed into the air and allowing there to be a critical discussion of these women’s’ place within the community. I would guide the discussion in the right direction, continually asking question if necessary and simply allowing the audience themselves to engage with one another.
What conclusion does this come to and what does Justice look like in this situation? The main goal is to allow the audience to not only voice their reactions/opinions in relation to the piece but to force them to be critical of those said reactions/opinions. This would force them to reconsider their rejoice against LIGHT women of African-American descent because they were presented with how they feel as well as confronted with the literal naked truth that the artwork presents.
The exhibition as far as the finished piece and the videos would stay up within the space for as long as possible to allow others within the community to access it. Bibliography Helga, Pablo. Education for socially engaged art: a materials and techniques handbook. New York: Jorge Pinto Books, 2010. Kind, Sara, Rachel Pain, and Mike Kebabs . Participatory Action Research. New York: Rutledge Taylor and Francis Group, 2007.