Been quiet for a while, mainly because I've been pondering on our new project... 'Research current issues in Africa. Pick the information that is of most importance to you. Create an educational piece of design.'
Well, I wasn't really sure where to begin, as I know very little about Africa, besides the obvious - famine, apartheid... and I wanted to shy away from the obvious. So I decided to start investigating the issues faced by women in Africa, and over the course of my research, I found this incredibly moving, distressing article, about the vast numbers of women who suffer rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
I've decided that I want to show this article to a wider audience. Much pondering on how to do this, but after a discussion with my tutor, I've decided to go for a beautifully done newspaper supplement. People are sick of reading mail outs/ads with pictures of sad Africans and pleas for money. It needs to be sophisticated, elegant, readable and striking. This is about letting the world know what's occurring, and in some small way, trying to increase the pressure on the government of the DRC.
One visual thing that struck my over the course of my research was the striking clothes the women wear. The style of fabrics in Africa is so distinctive, so vibrant, and these women who have suffered so much still wear these amazingly vivid clothes, which hide goodness knows what scars.
I've done a lot of research into African fabric designs, and started to produce some of my own, which - at first glance may appear to be normal patterns, but on second glance, you see hidden within them some of the things that the women wearing them have suffered... bullets, scars, guns...
I'm going to incorporate these designs as full pages in my final newspaper supplement, to run alongside the article. (Which will be beautifully done, typographically... I hope...)
So here are the ones I've done so far. They are based on traditional and modern African fabric designs which are worn by African women today.
I've decided that photography in the article is going to be limited. Partly for copyright reasons, (I don't have permission to use these images, and hope that the photographer doesn't mind me showing them here) and partly because, as I said earlier, we have been numbed to those kind of pictures by years and years of Oxfam mail-outs/TV ads/news pieces.
But having seen film of these women speaking about what they have experienced, these images seem incredibly powerful to me, and I may use one or two of them in my final piece.
You can see the video these images were taken from here
This is an unusually serious project for me... I don't normally like dealing with real 'issues'. I just hope I can do it some kind of justice.