The Platform’s Photography Editor, Rukia Begum, displays her final year project at the London College of Communication
The project ‘Behind the Words’ is about the importance of words and how words signify different things to different people depending on experience.
It all started when I read the book Behind Closed Doors by Jenny Tomlin which tells the story of how Jenny and her siblings survived the terrible acts their father put them through. The author draws in the audience through her choice of words to reflect the emotions of each character. As such, I sought to translate this technique from written word into pattern, colour, material and imagery.
A number of words stood out to me, which form the basis of my project: fear, abuse, silence and hope. Birds were also used as a metaphor for young Jenny in the book. Birds often feel free, but can we envision them when they are scared or abused?
The collar sculptures, which were a reflection of these themes, aim to represent the strength, motivation, energy and hope which Jenny feels – even when experiencing fear or abuse.
In this sculpture I used skulls to reflect fear, and I darkened the birds, as if they appeared to be afraid of the skulls. The skulls are made up of snakes and spiders, commonly regarded as sources of fear. Below the print is leather, etched with a baby bird, to mark the beginning of all of the words. The start of the story comes as a result of this word: fear.
The colours in this piece are black and red, reflecting the dark times of a person’s life. The handprints are used here to emphasise physical abuse. I used etching on leather to create a design of birds cut into pieces.
For the neck piece in this design, I used blue leather. The leather neck piece, together with the shoulder pads, were used to depict the feeling of being tangled in, closed up, and incapable of expression. The print on the fabric show birds tangled together, being suffocated by the ropes.
This white and yellow sculpture was themed around the idea of freedom – the opportunity to lead life with one’s own choices. I used leather to construct the upper area and the shoulder pads, as well as silk fabric with the print of birds flying away in both directions. In this, I aimed to make the viewer feel emotionally content and positive about looking to the future.
‘Behind the Words’ is available for viewing until Thursday 21 June 2012. Please visit the London College of Communication, 3rd Floor. For any further questions, please contact Rukia on email@example.com.
Photo Credits: Rukia Begum
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