The most commercially successful superhero stories often feature men as their lead. It's an image of power that is rarely extended to women. This idea has been perpetuated throughout the media for centuries.
The imagery of paper dolls represents the cultural view that girls and women are two-dimensional objects subject to the whims of others. Meanwhile, superheroes are looked to as leaders and decision-makers.
Haynes’ wanted to turn these ideas around and place young girls in positions of leadership. By painting them as superheroes it celebrates the power within them to shift the culture and the society they have been born into. Like all women of today, they seek equality and the need to be seen for all they are. Haynes’ intent is for the viewer to feel her power, her confidence and to recognize her birthright; her human right.
The young girls in this series are from the Tchukudu Kids Home in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Children in DRC are often treated as commodities. Disposable labourers. Invisible soldiers. Their human rights violated daily as they face exposure to violence, sexual violence, poverty and the inability to access food and clean water.
This work says these children are not invisible. They are not a commodity. They matter. They count. They deserve to take up space. I see them. We see them. And they deserve big beautiful lives.
- Mixed media