Art Analysis of Underworld
The name of the artwork above is known as ‘Underworld’, it an illustration by Asaf Hanuka from Israel. The artwork is a form of a comic strip which is divided into 2 portions. The main concern shown is the contrasting states that children around the world are living in, this concept is illustrated by the division of top, and bottom portions of the art. Some children live in severe poverty while others are well off and unaware of the state that the other half of the world are in. The three core points that I’ll be emphasizing on are extreme poverty around the world, how child slavery is still a persistent issue in society and last but not least the ignorant minds of consumers towards the unethical practices of companies.
My first point is poverty around the globe. When referred to the artwork above, the top part of the art is brightly colored, and the bottom part is dull. The artist decided to use these colors because he aims to show the different living states of the kid in the first half and the state of the other 12 kids in the bottom half. Dim atmospheres are often used to show a feeling of discomfort and colorful scenes show the opposite. In this case, the discomfort that the children are experiencing is severe poverty. Poverty is an expanding issue as around 770,000,000 people are experiencing such obstacles and yet others are still unenlightened.
Besides the choice of colors, poverty is apparent in the image when we consider the sunken faces of the kids. The dramatic contours on their faces show that they have not had the opportunity to possess a nutritional life. This suggest that they have not had proper meals therefore causing them to lose body mass. Apart from that, redness around eyes and noses as shown on the kids’ faces can be indications that the kids are ill and do not have the convenience to visit a doctor. Furthermore, the evident dark circles around their eyes show clearly that they have not had enough and proper rest in a long time. Without enough food and sleep due to their inability to afford these needs, their health is at stake. The artist included these details in hopes to inform his audiences about the severity of poverty.
My next point is child slavery. In the comic strip, the kids in the lower half are representations of slaves. Slavery is the act of taking control and ownership over other people. Even though it is illegal, many around the world still violate this regulation. I believe the aim of including this in Asaf’s artwork is to inform his audiences about the cruel secrets that many companies attempt to hide. Children slaves are often forced to operate long hours in unpleasant working environments. When referred to the bottom part of the picture, most of the image is black and white except for the toy that is being assembled.
The lack of colors displays the unhappiness that the kids are dealing with. The toy is brightly colored as it symbolizes joy and excitement, feelings of which the 12 kids are deprived of. Radiant colors such as red, blue and yellow are often associated with the feeling of happiness. The absence of colors shows their misery and how childhood is stripped away from them. When observed carefully, the children appear to wear the same type of clothing and have closely resembling hairstyles. The uniformity illustrates the idea of someone with authority restricting their choices of appearance and the lack of freedom that they can choose to dress themselves. This shows that they are under control similarly to the lack of privilege that prisoners have. Therefore, I believe that the artist is trying to convey the message of them being in captivity like slaves.
The third point that I’ll be addressing would be how consumers are uniformed of the inhumane practices that many companies are performing. This is indicated in the top part of the image where the family looks contented and unaware about the history that the toy holds. It would only make sense that if consumers were well-informed about the firm’s immoral practices; they would not purchase such products.
The family in the colorful half of the picture looks affluent as there are stacks of unopened presents on the floor and the toy itself looks as if it was made in a well operated factory. There is no sign of the toy’s depressing past in the entire top portion of the art which ties back to the deceiving acts that companies carry out in attempt to erase their unethical techniques. There’re zero indications on the perfectly colored toy stating that it was once in the hands of slaves locked up in a factory. The artist included these details to educate the public that some companies still exploit slaves for production.
This artwork carries value to me as it acts as a reminder to me on how inequality is a common problem around the world and is a growing issue that needs to be settled. After giving much attention to this piece of art, I feel a sense of responsibility to research about the companies that I’ll be purchasing from in the future to prevent indirect support to slavery. This art is valuable to me as it makes me feel guilty that I might have owned a product made by slaves in the past.
I highly think that everyone should be enlightened about poverty, modern slavery and the crooked processes of companies nowadays so that we can combat these problems together. Artworks that incorporate social issues can educate and most importantly create awareness. Awareness leads to education then action finally solutions to these issues. The awareness of poverty and slavery is crucial so that society appreciates what they have and lend a hand to those who are enslaved or in extreme poverty.