"inequity exposed" a creative response

by HS BTEC Art & Design students

To mark the anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women, the publication "Inequity Exposed" planned a global campaign to celebrate the advances in gender equality in the last 25 years.

The publication has asked for help by creating art, design or media work they could use, sell or distribute as part of the campaign. These are the creative responses made by our BTEC Art & Design students as part of their final exam.

By Ty Diaz Sanchez (Gr 12) Title: Inequity Exposed Poster Medium: Digital

"When I approach a concept I strive to learn as much about the subject as I possibly can. After investigating who were the major players that made this historic moment possible I researched the cultural aspects that each of them grew up around, highlighting the idea of intersectional feminism. This way we celebrate the past while looking towards the future of this movement. To communicate this feeling of past and future uniting, I used as inspiration contemporary feminist artists and their aesthetic sensibilities. By applying this to images of the past we can truly observe this with a new critical lens that has been a result of the growth we have observed in the 25 years since "The 4th World Conference on Women". Another factor of intersectionality I focused on was the fact that every single member of this committee came from different countries, especially seeing how these cultural factors might have affected their discussion, yet all of them wanted to work towards the same goal of equality. This was represented by the textiles placed on their clothes. Each of them wore cloth that was native to each of their countries, this way they were not only creating history but carrying it with them. This aforementioned aspect personally made me feel represented, since I study in an international environment, and while my own cultural experiences have shaped a lot of my thinking process, I, as all of my peers, am reaching towards the goal of creating meaningful art that can deliver thoughtful messages. This was all tied together by the small details of the background, like the flames and the small crowd behind the head figures. These details meant to represent the veracity and strength that this movement holds since even though they are speakers for the association, they have managed to create a platform due to everyone else within these spaces that has come to their aid when it has been asked."

"In order to produce a successful outcome for the client, United Nations, I investigated multiple themes of women’s rights to obtain an understanding as to how I could bring up these issues within a creative product. The client, United Nations asked me to create an artistic piece for an exhibition, or a product for distribution, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, 1995. My goal was to represent the changes that have been implemented since the Conference, as well as the challenges we still need to speak upon today. To begin, I discovered devastating statistics around sexual violence, for example, that globally, 35 per cent of women have ever experienced physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence, or sexual violence by a non-partner. This revelation made me understand the theme I want to focus on in my final piece - objectification of women, and the derogatory behaviour towards female nudity. The use of contrast within my piece, by using black and white fabric comes from inspiration by the photographer Melissa Cartagena and creates a clear and distinct divide between what is societally accepted, and what isn’t. The audience is able to see the definite message of promiscuity being considered as consent by men, as well as the contrasting acceptance of more coverage. By completing research on Melissa’s work, I was able to implement her concepts and ideas in my own piece. Her photography made me understand the importance of feeling safe in your body as a woman and exploring ones’ sensuality despite the societal taboos. Furthermore, the use of tulle fabric and fabric manipulation adds intricate and unique details to my work. These details are able to support my concept and reference artist Benjamin Shine’s pieces. I was inspired by his ability to transform such simple and transparent fabric into magnificent works of art. An idea as such was very intriguing to me, being able to fold, layer and shape the fabric into your desired silhouettes. After discovering his work, I immediately knew I wanted to execute a similar technique to Benjamin’s. The white tulle sleeve symbolises tranquillity, as it's flowing freely across the bustier. As mentioned previously, the whole white side of the bustier top reveals that there’s a sense of acceptance when a woman is more covered up by her clothes. In addition, the full-coverage fabric cup shows that the tranquillity is only there if the woman’s breast is fully covered. Female nudity, and perhaps public breastfeeding is still a societal taboo. The black side of the bustier shows there is negativity surrounding the revealing tulle cup, and that there is still changes to be made in gender inequity. The sheerness but also vividness of the tulle fabric on the cup shows that even though the situation of objectification and sexualisation of the female body has gotten better - it's still fully not accepted. The ruffle detail suggests ‘chaos’, and supports the previous idea further, that the freeing of a female body is still not acceptable. It is more than important for us to mention the significance of women’s rights, as much as possible. My piece is only the beginning of sharing these issues with the world, however, I am very proud to present this piece as a part of the 25th-anniversary celebration to the Fourth World Conference on Women."

By Marta Repsa (Gr 11) Title: Is this acceptable enough? Stockman mannequin size XS Medium: cotton & tulle fabric

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