Monday, April 25, 2011

"In the Playroom" Jonathan Hobin

(CNN) -- A controversial photography exhibit called "In the Playroom" depicts young children reenacting tragic and violent historical events, including the September 11 attacks and the abuse of inmates at Iraq's infamous Abu Ghraib prison.

The artist, Jonathan Hobin, says his work is an attempt to reflect on modern events that affect children and prompt dialogue about "issues in our world." Poussaint said he commended the photographs for their portrayal of events that affect children, but cautioned that the children likely "didn't understand what they were doing." - this which many have wondered.
Hobin defended his work, arguing that "media is so pervasive its almost inescapable" and the exhibit endeavored to show how these events are "part of our culture."
"We have to acknowledge it," he said.
Others aren't so sure.

As reviewed:
"These photographs, by Canadian artist Jonathan Hobin which are currently on display at Ottawa's Dale Smith Gallery, pull you in just as they're pushing you away. Although they're controversial (and sometimes disturbing), Hobin's message is a serious one - that what kids see in the media does register with them, no matter how much parents try to protect them. The images depict troubling news stories from 9/11 to the 2004 tsunami."

Its about Hurricane Katrina.
The children standing beneath storm-clouds by a backyard pool while wearing water wings that proudly bear the logo of F.E.M.A., the federal agency that failed the people of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

"The Twins,"

One photograph,shows two young boys staring directly into the camera in a playroom designed to look like a scene from the September 11 attacks at the World Trade Center in New York. In the scene, a boy is shown holding a toy plane, while the other child holds a toy fire engine crane in front of a building made to look like its ablaze.

“There hasn’t been a kid born after 9/11 who hasn’t seen the images,” says Hobin, who has no children of his own. “What they see gets incorporated into their play. Nobody teaches a kid how to hold a gun, but they can. The playroom is supposed to be a protected space, but everything they see follows them in.” (via Maclean’s)

“A Boo Grave,”

A hooded child on box with phony electrodes attached to his fingers in a scene that portrays an Abu Ghraib prisoner. Next to him shows a near naked boy, handcuffed beside a stuffed animal of a dog.

Jim Jones massacre " White Nights"

Almost three decades ago an unusual series of events led to the deaths of more than 900 people in the middle of a South American jungle. Though dubbed a "massacre," what transpired at Jonestown on November 18, 1978, was to some extent done willingly, making the mass suicide all the more disturbing.

The Jonestown cult (officially named the "People's Temple") was founded in 1955 by Indianapolis preacher James Warren Jones. Jones, who had no formal theological training, based his liberal ministry on a combination of religious and socialist philosophies.
A New, Isolated Community

After relocating to California in 1965, the church continued to grow in membership and began advocating their left-wing political ideals more actively. With an I.R.S. investigation and a great deal of negative press mounting against the radical church, Jones urged his congregation to join him in a new, isolated community where they could escape American capitalism—and criticism—and practice a more communal way of life.

In 1977, Jones and many of his followers relocated to Jonestown, located on a tract of land the People's Temple had purchased and begun to develop in Guyana three years earlier.

Relatives of cult members soon grew concerned and requested that the U.S. government rescue what they believed to be brainwashed victims living in concentration camp-like conditions under Jones's power.
The Visit of Congressman Ryan

In November 1978, California Congressman Leo Ryan arrived in Guyana to survey Jonestown and interview its inhabitants. After reportedly having his life threatened by a Temple member during the first day of his visit, Ryan decided to cut his trip short and return to the U.S. with some Jonestown residents who wished to leave. As they boarded their plane, a group of Jones's guards opened fire on them, killing Ryan and four others.

Some members of Ryan's party escaped, however. Upon learning this, Jones told his followers that Ryan's murder would make it impossible for their commune to continue functioning. Rather than return to the United States, the People's Temple would preserve their church by making the ultimate sacrifice: their own lives. Jones's 912 followers were given a deadly concoction of a purple drink mixed with cyanide, sedatives, and tranquilizers. Jones apparently shot himself in the head.

Boxing day

The Tsunami attack.

“People always ask me if I’m setting out to shock people, and I’m not. I think the shock comes from people being forced to acknowledge that kids experience these events, or are witness to them,” he says. “All I’m doing is reminding people that that’s the reality. If anything, I’m doing it in a more fun and playful way, albeit a little bit dark.”

Personally for me, the above few situations were close to my heart - the juxtaposition of the innocence child images and the chaos outside in the world - its just makes you want to tear.

American Idol

Slain 6-year-old JonBenetRamsey, who was found dead in the basement of her Colorado home in 1996 after being strangled.
The image portrays the girl dressed in beauty pageant attire while holding a mauve-colored scarf around her neck.

JonBenét Patricia Ramsey (August 6, 1990 – December 25, 1996) was an American child who was murdered at age 6 and attracted extensive media coverage. Such coverage often focused on her participation in child beauty pageants, her parents' affluence and various unusual aspects of the case as well as questions regarding police handling of the case. She was found dead in the basement of her parents' home in Boulder, Colorado, nearly eight hours after she was reported missing. The official cause of death was asphyxiation due to strangulation associated with craniocerebral trauma. The case is notable for both its longevity and the media interest it has generated. Commentators and Colorado law enforcement agencies considered the girl's parents and brother to be suspects, but they have been legally exonerated as a result of DNA evidence and declared victims of the crime, themselves. After several grand jury hearings, the case is still unsolved

Dear Leader

Hobin, however, was thinking in political terms. "Kim Jong Il is terrifying," he said. "We're at the mercy of this man!" North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il in front of a cardboard mushroom cloud- nuclear.
- For me, I was thinking - I did not know Kim Jong Il was so impacting on them.

A seal’s heart

Governor General Michaëlle Jean eating a seal’s heart.

Spring Break

— a depiction of the unsolved disappearance of American teenager Natalee Holloway from Aruba in 2005.

Its all for the sake of art. Come on, everyone relax.
But I guess when children is involved, its always a little sensitive.
But I love such art pieces!

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