COLORS OF WAR
mixed media, 2010
A body of work that examines the relationship between war and childhood. In the series I start with inert reminisce of war. Practice grenades, empty bullet casing, replica pistols, diagrams of land mines and transform them into colorful life size sculptures and larger than life color photographs.
Each object is case in polyester resin in six different colors. Each unnatural color reminiscent of candies such as Life Savers or Jolly Roger candies, cementing the connection to childhood. When the innocence and desire for candy was the only concern of a child. The juxtaposing nature of the object and the relationship that the color has with childhood, forces the viewer to question their relationship or connection between the two: children and war. Or more specifically the use of children in war.
The following is the Unite Nation’s definition of who a child soldier is: A child associated with an armed force or armed group refers to any person below 18 years of age who is, or who has been, recruited or used by an armed force or armed group in any capacity, including but not limited to children, boys and girls, used as fighters, cooks, porters, spies or for sexual purposes.
The most recent data from the UN on the use of child soldiers is from 2016. It states that 50 countries still allow the recruitment and use of children. Governments in 7 active conflicts around the world are currently deploying children; these are in Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Yemen. The remaining 43 other state armed forces train children for armed conflict but to not normally use them this way until they turn 18. The United States recruits at ago 17 and the United Kingdom recruits at age 16, both in conflict with international norms. They are the only two western countries on this list. 51 non-state armed groups were actively recruiting and using children in armed conflicts. These include Boko Haram, the Taliban and the Islamic State (ISIS).
We are inundated with violent images everyday from all our multiple sources of visual information. To the point that we are desensitized to the brutal human nature of this international problem. Through the use of color and objects I hope to cut through this defensive layer of the view and create an opportunity for them to visit this topic and hopefully take action. Here are three resources to use as a starting point:
United Nations- Children not Soldiers Campaign
United Nations Human Rights Office (OHCHR) Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Child