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.
This piece is a combination and continuation of three of my series; the Coca-Cola series, the Wall of Courage, and the Innocent Feminine.
The Coca-Cola Series
I began with this background because I wanted to revisit a series I did three years ago with a Coca-cola logo. It represents big business and the question ‘where do profits intersect with humanity?’ What are the global responsibilities of these huge corporations? From my years of travelling to East Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, one common thread is the great hold Coca-cola has on advertising. Entire buildings are painted in the logo. Red walls, white lettering and the infamous swoop. You can find a Coca-cola in the furthest reaches of the heart of Africa but good luck finding a fresh source of water. Where do our priorities measure up?
The Wall of Courage
The girl represented in this image is one of our Tchukudu Kids and her name is Oneio. She is also on the Wall of Courage. I painted her live during the filming of the “Beyond the Wall” documentary in 2015. She is now a teenager. She dropped out of school this past year but we are working to get her back on track. She wishes to start the embroidery program at the Tchukudu Women’s Center.
This series represents young girls as the superheroes of tomorrow. I believe, if globally, women were to reach full equality the world would find peace. Women have been repressed in order to keep the power of the patriarchy alive. White Men in particular have been making all major decisions for centuries. There is no denying that the world is in crisis. The countries that have progressed in favour of women’s equality have safer, healthier people and environments. This isn’t to say women have all the answers but if women had an equal opportunity to contribute, together we could find the balances that the world needs to survive.
- Mixed media on canvas
- 48” x 60”