While scanning my usual social media sites I stumbled upon this image (which turned out to be a photo series rather than a single collage of images as presented below) and thought it was too captivating not to share with the rest of the bloggersphere.
Erik Ravelo, a Cuban artist who delves in sculpting, painting and multi-media art is the man behind this brilliant piece. Ravelo’s art has won him numerous awards and accolades as well has earned some pretty world class drama due to the nature of some of his work including one painting of some of our world’s leaders kissing; brave guy! Either way, no matter what your personal views of his work are, there’s no denying that he’s making a statement. I love it!
Now, moving on the the image at hand, this six image photo series captures a few very pressing issues in our world and all involve children: pedophillia in the Catholic Church, child exploitation by the tourism industry in Thailand, the war in Syria and its use of child Soldiers (this one is particularly near and dear to my heart), the black market organ trade where children are the main victims, gun culture in the United States and child obesity and illness brought on by the food industry. Wow.
These are real problems that plague our planet but often times appear to be swept under the rug. Sure, there was some light shed on the ‘issues’ going on within the Catholic Church as it related to children but once the novelty wore off, so did the news and media coverage. Did you even know that children were being exploited (pimped out in laymen’s terms) in Thailand to tourists? This actually happens in other countries as well. I’ve actually seen this to be so myself and let me tell you, it was one of the most heartbreaking things on earth. The following cause as I stated before is particularly near and dear to my heart; the use of child Soldiers. Let’s pause for a minute:
In this image Ravelo chose to focus on the war in Syria but trust and believe Syria isn’t the only country who commits their heinous crime. Children are abducted every day in certain countries as young as three years old and forced into the life of an armed combantant. Adult ‘Soldiers’ drug, abuse and dupe these innocent children into becoming killing machines and actually use them in civil wars as they would normal troops. I hate that. No child should ever be forced so experience the madness and mayhem of war and they for damn sure shouldn’t have their childhood stolen because of it. Unlike the woes of adulthood, childhood is temporary and should be enjoyed; not taken away and perverted for the benefit of those with sick and twisted motives. No child should ever be put in a position where they must choose to kill or be killed. No child should ever be abused (physically, sexually and emotionally) to fuel a fight that they have no business being in and truly do no understand. Under no circumstances should children ever be given drugs and/or bribed into committing acts far beyond their years. To make my points a bit clearer, when these Lieutenants (more seasoned combatants responsible for overseeing the younger combantants) have been known to give these kids hard drugs like cocaine to jade their perception and offered things like toys and candy to coax the kids into working harder and being more destructive when given orders to fight. Armed conflict is no place for children. If you would like to make a difference in the life of a child effected by armed conflict whether it be that of a rehabilitated child Soldier, a child effected by armed conflict or genocide, there area number of organizations out there dedicated the helping the cause; my personal favorite being Invisible Children. Check them out and help out a child today! Back to the post.
The black market organ trade has been going on for eons but for some inane reason is still ignored. Even odder, children are usually the targets of harvested organs (even I wasn’t aware of that) and yet it seems that there’s nothing done to make a differece. Underground crime or not, with the technology, laws and liberties in effect today and available worldwide how hard is it to stop quacks from stealing little kids’ livers and selling them? Maybe that’s just me. On to the next issue: gun control in the United States. As a US citizen I’ve been caught in the crossfire in a way when it comes to this particular topic. Vote for this, write your senator about that, lock up your guns, teach kids about guns, etc. This has been an ongoing problem in the United States for quite some time but sadly, doesn’t appear to be getting much better. It hurts me little soul to turn on the news and hear that the life of a child (or anyone for that matter) has been taken due to irresponsibility with weapons in some way or another. Much like the other tough topic mentioned, this has got to stop. Last but not least, childhood obesity and the illness that come along with it. I’m not sure about the other nations but this is a fairly new issue within the United States (I use the term new loosly; I’ll give it ten to fifteen years or so). Gone are the days of parents cooking home cooked meals and in with Ronald McDonald and the rest of his fat ass crew. Of course kids want Happy Meals and quick eats but its up to you as parents to put your foot down. In all seriousness, I know it ticks me off but to what stretch of the imagination is it okay for your six year old to be so chubby that he/she can’t play outside without getting winded? Do you want them to be diabetic and a candidate for gastric bypass by the age of thirteen? I’m just sayin’. To the credit of certain powerful people, it seems that there are certain steps being made to rectify this issue like healthier options being available in kid’s meals at fast food restaurants (why do kids need fast food anyway? Active or not, no kid is so busy that they can’t sit down for a moment to have a meal. It’s not like they juggle lots of tasks like we over-worked adults do. Just something to think about) and the different things available to keep kids active like exercise focused video games, fit programs for kids, athletic leagues for kids, etc. but still. This shouldn’t be an issue we’re faced with.
Whew! That was my PSA for the week. Back to the art at hand, although these are some pretty heavy topics to tackle I really love that someone took a stand to help push some of this stuff into the public eye. Six powerful messages pushed out without the use of a single word. I love it! Please take a look at the photos below from Erik Ravelo. If you want to read up a bit more on him, check out his bio here. Enjoy!