Ana Rossi: From Art to Activism
Creative capacity at the service of activism is as eclectic and varied as today’s map of social and political conflicts; it shoots off in every direction to denounce racial problems as vigorously as ecological concerns, matters of class and gender differences.
To a greater or lesser extent, we should all be civil activists, "change-makers" who generate those positive changes we so cherish. That responsibility however often falls upon the artist who ignites the spark of awareness with the power of the imagination and his work.
Ana Rossi is an Argentine artist who lived her teenage years under the military dictatorship of the 1980s. Repression and the violation of human rights influenced her approach to life, paved her way into the art world and drove her to focus on topics as current as violence of gender, child abuse and human trafficking, considered to be the enslavement of the 21st century.
During Art Basel 2012, in the City of Miami where she lives, Ana Rossi presented "Human Trafficking" a series of paintings denouncing this human torment. She says that the use of photography "is used for characterization and as symbol of the real experiences endured by the victims of such atrocities". She combines her painting with keys, strings and other elements that represent these women. The use of text in the image refers us to the "non artistic" work of conceptual art which, by the end of the sixties, pledged with the times, calling for the dignity and rights of the artist.
Human trafficking involves reproductive slavery, sexual exploitation, forced labor, the trafficking of organs and the abuse of children for war and begging, among others. It is one of the most lucrative illegal activities after the trafficking of drugs and weapons; a global scourge with cases reported in over 130 countries. According to United Nations estimates, over 2.4 million people are currently trafficked and exploited, 80% of which are women and girls.
Rossi’s work talks about the need to vindicate the rights of women through socially responsible work that will help bridge that gap between art and life. In her role as an artist, Ana also assumes the role of the journalist and communicator, of a utopian activist and cultural topographer whose work seeks to spread a message whilst opening up the possibilities for artistic expression.
In these times of violence, exclusion and technology in which efficiency and consumption take precedence, it seems poetic to think that art can change anything. But it does and has throughout history. Among other things, as writer and journalist Horacio Vázquez Rial puts it, "to make the world a more beautiful place. This is very reason why it came to be although to some it may seem a purpose of lesser importance, specially if we consider that we still don’t really know what beauty is."