Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Thousand Word Commentary in a Composed Image

Wandering through the art exhibit (Dream Team | Works from 1995 to 2011) featuring the work of the photographer, Fatimah Tuggar, utilizing photo collages to juxtapose Western and West African cultures can impress upon one the stark contrast of perceived beauty and wealth, and how both are associated with power.  Seeing a rail thin model in a gorgeous dress next to a bone thin starving child is a harsh dose of reality: one working so hard to achieve an idealized state of beauty while the other works diligently to earn enough sustenance to survive.  What power does the wealth of jewels and gold hold when placed next to smiling family and friends?
These images are meant to make one think, but how do they make one feel?

Perspective of the viewer is just as much at play as the perspective of the artist, and even the perspective of the subject.  The pictures featuring predominant images from one culture and only a few images from the other provide a heightened contrast of disparity.  However, the images that seemed to balance the two showed similarities that one might not otherwise consider.  For instance, just as some Western children see sports as their way to a better life, so do some West African children. While there seemed to be some elements of the ridiculous to the combinations, that only served to emphasize the influence of technology on life, as the artist intended.  Every image with its placement in space has meaning.  

In art, there are no accidents.

-Veronica Ibarra

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