I watched Liai’s June 24th, 2020 lecture at Falmouth and have studied her project on her website. I used some of her images in a CRJ post on the power of objects. I want to focus here on a statement she made that she ‘is not an activist’. I was watching the recording so could not ask her about this but it made me think deeply.
As I study her work I see it is important that she carries out ‘visual research undertaken through historical and contemporary comparisons’ and ‘documents and conceptualises the dangers and damages caused by women’s lack of legal, safe and free access to abortion.’ ‘Her collection of visual, audio and textual evidence weaves a netof questions about ethics and morality, and reveals a staggering series of social triggers, stigmas, and taboos around abortion that have been invisible until now.’ (Abril, 2020)
I will check with her but it might be that she is documenting and raising awareness rather than going around the world shouting and demonstrating there need to be new laws on abortion. It is a fine line as the activism is implicit within the work shown.
What interests me about her work is her bold presentation of the consequences of the current abortion laws around the world. This is a fact. It relates to an element of my own work for my FMP. I am at the other end of the timescale where the laws impacting a persons ability to end their life when it is no longer bearable also leads to horrible situations in some countries.
If my wife, Karen, had lived in Belgium, Holland or Spain she would have been able to end her life at home. In Spain there is a move to change the law but it is going to take a while. As a result my wife had to travel 1600 kms in two ambulances and a private jet with private medical staff for her wishes to be met.
To date my FMP has focussed on my struggle with Karen’s illness but Laia’s confident, powerful and essential work makes me consider if I should be as bold and confident about Karen’s wishes to end her life with an assisted suicide in Switzerland. Many have encouraged me to skirt around the subject because opinions are so strong and polarised. Laia makes me think the strength and polarisation of opinion is a reason to take the subject head on. If I do so Laia’s approach is an impressive model to base work on.
Abril, Laia. 2020. A History of Misogyny – Chapter 1 – On Abortion. [online] Available at https://www.laiaabril.com/ (accessed: 22nd July,2020).