The Red Sea: "Death of Innocents" by Callum Russell

Summary

I have long been an admirer of Chinese art, particularly the tradition of paper-cutting as it is my primary method of working. A couple of years ago I started researching and reading into the one child policy, into what had been going on, and what continues to happen in China. With these two interests combined I felt compelled to create a piece of work which would not only explore the theme but would also expose the injustice to an unintentionally ignorant Western audience. Using the language of traditional Chinese symbolism and technique I created a large scale red paper cutout depicting the struggle and injustices for chinese girls. The piece is called Death of the Innocents, a reference to the Rubens paintings that depict the biblical Massacre of the Innocents of Bethlehem, as related in the Gospel of Matthew. Using the dragon as the symbol for the male, and the phoenix for female, as well as the ideas of an unbalanced yin and yang, and the oppression of these girls I have created a piece which on first glance looks like a piece from the Chinese tradition of red papercuts, but under closer examination is revealed to be a critique of the outdated and unjust policy. What appear to be cherubs or angels in the background clouds are actually girls falling, the dragon and the phoenix are evolving from the umbilical cords of the central child figures - the dragons teeth latched onto the tail of the phoenix, and the simple but violent action of creating a piece of art by using a surgical scalpel to physically cut out pieces poignantly echoes the 'cutting out' of a generation of defenseless innocents.

 

Bio

I am a recently graduated illustrator from London England. I work primarily in papercut, drawing inspiration from the rich history of the craft and combining it with modern digital technologies.  Visit my website to see more of my work.

More Images

 

Image insert: 



More Articles

“For to us a child is born,

    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his...

IMAGE: Shutterstock / AEIdeas

 

Although more than a week has passed since China put forth its newly tweaked One-Child Policy, echoes of this recent event continue to resonate across the media. Scholars, officials, and citizens in China and beyond have all come to speculate on what a revised family planning policy would...

by Zuo Xuejin and Yang Xiaoping

 

 

Since 1980, China has implemented a strict family-planning policy. In the past 30 years, the country has seen major changes in its population growth rate and within the next couple of decades the total number of people will ...