Digital specimens for the "Labour of Love" show at Array Studios and the #twoformany show at Pollen Studios for Late night art on 2nd June in Belfast made possible because of Inroads Alliance for Choice and Array Studios
Both colour photography and the laws against abortion in Ireland were first formed in 1861, an era of emerging modernity that also saw the growing suffragette movement. Butterfly collecting was often seen as the appropriate hobby for unmarried ladies. Whilst butterflies are often regarded as symbols of femininity, freedom and change by many cultures, their capture and collection can reflect the harsh and sometimes fatal consequences of trying to pin down sexual behaviour and confine people to rigid gender stereotypes.
This piece is a work in progress by Alliance for Choice activist and artist Emma Campbell. Featuring abortion activists from Ireland and around the world, including Siobhán and Melissa, Emma wishes to re-insert the image of women and allies into visual representations of abortion that has been so often missing or misrepresented.
When finished, it will present a swarm of passport photo butterflies featuring activists who can represent the women, trans men and non-binary people who are still forced to travel outside of their home countries for abortion healthcare or who are under surveillance for accessing abortion pills to take abortion care into their own hands. It is hoped that this project will ultimately show that despite the enduring restrictions on abortion, feminism has also endured and is still fighting back against state misogyny and violence. This set of portraits was made whilst Emma was in Bangkok with Inroads for a global meeting of abortion activists, advocates and providers. Bravely showing their faces, each one of these photographic subjects is proudly oppositional to the stigmatizing discourse in each of their environments, with gratitude, Emma has transformed the often invisible activists into passport butterfly specimens, subverting femininity and slowly building a swarm of activists to replace the missing faces from the stories of abortion.
Activists are invited to have your portrait included in this artwork. Please contact Emma Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org