I was not ready to create art about the issue at hand today, and so I worked on a call for art that I knew I wanted to participate in. The show is called Freedom From, Freedom To and is being organized by the St. Louis Rescue and Restore Coalition. The call for art states "What does Freedom mean to you? We are challenging you to help us raise awareness about the unfortunate reality that slavery still exists today. Whether it is called trafficking in persons, human trafficking, forced labor, forced prostitution, the commercial sexual exploitation of children, or modern-day slavery—we must take action to put a stop to the exploitation of others."
When I began contemplating this, the image of the butterfly came to mind; specifically of hands letting butterflies go to fly freely in the air. I did a search for a quote, and found this one (which was perfect for what I wanted to express): I only ask to be free. The butterfly is free. ~Charles Dickens
And as I searched I also found that the symbolism for the butterfly is freedom, the soul, change, joy, color and creativity. The image I had intuitively represented seemed to embody perfectly the mission of the call for art: freedom from oppression and the chains of human trafficking, the soul and livelihood of those involved in human trafficking, changing perceptions about human trafficking, joy resulting from freedom and the color and creativity in the artwork created. And as I further thought about the image, I began to see that the butterflies are souls that have found freedom through the hands of those to end human trafficking. It is a wish realized through art that someday all people will be free.
I thought it would also be fun to show the progression of the piece:
|Covered the canvas with pages from a dictionary. These pages contain the words freedom, flutter, forever... (and also Frankenstein! which I think is hilarious)|
|Colored the paper with water-soluble oil pastels and then went over with white acrylic leaving a nice surface to start creating on.|
|Cut out silhouettes of the images I wanted using wallpaper samples I have. Glued these onto the prepared canvas.|
|Added an outline of oil pastel, and smeared it to create halos. Added watercolor drip marks.|
|Stamped quote onto mulberry paper, tore the paper and adhered to the image. Gave it all a final coat of gel medium to seal it.|