In Pippa Biddle’s article, she discusses the issues that arise when white people travel to developing countries to volunteer. While it is helpful to dedicate time and effort for causes, but as she states towards the end, it is better to provide resources and skilled people for these types of tasks. Another positive would be having skilled people from that country be a leader in the eyes of the younger generation.
An earlier point she made that I keep thinking back on is her acknowledging that some non-profits and service programs highlighting her past positions. I feel that, while it may be a way to encourage the volunteers, it can cement the white savior complex. It could also attract the wrong crowd who would do the volunteer work and remain unaffected.
The article by Pippa Biddle is very inspiring because she really went out of her way to help other people from Tanzania and the Dominican Republic. She said that when she went to the Dominican Republic she struggled to communicate with the staff and children because she barely spoke Spanish. But even though she struggled in communicating with people, the language was not a hindrance for her to pursue her dreams of helping people. The most interesting thing she said was that she did not want the children to thank her for everything she had done but to think of the leaders, mothers, or teachers in the children’s community. Clearly, she wants the children to think about the people in their own community who are there always to serve them. She wants the children to be proud of their culture rather than other people who come from outside their community. But I think the children should recognize the role she plays by volunteering in their community.
I found this article to be incredibly eye opening in how it pointed out a totally new perspective on volunteering that I never would have thought of previously. The part that I found to be most thought provoking was the idea of the “white savior complex”. We are taught from a young age, as in my own instance of going to a Catholic school my whole life and having them preaching it to us, that going on mission trips is something that basically sets you on a higher pedestal than everyone else (not saying that service trips are an awful thing, just as pointed out in Pippa’s article, they are a bit glorified). There is one line in the article that I feel really encapsulated this idea; “I have stopped attending having finally accepting that my presence is not the godsend I was coached by non-profits, documentaries, and service programs to believe it would be”. There is this idea being taught that people in developing countries need our rescue, so to hear it put this way explaining that other ways of offering help, such as donating or hiring people that are actually trained to do the work, is a refreshing change. Service is a beautiful thing that if done correctly, can make a big difference, but I agree with Pippa that we need to know our place in that service and act accordingly.
Pippa Biddle Article: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/little-white-girls-voluntourism_b_4834574
Pippa Biddle’s article definitely opened my eyes to how we can help developing countries. I never thought about how helping could be a hindrance. We should use our resources to donate materials and give the resources to those within a country so they can run their own camps because they know the people the best. At the very least, if we want to partake in service, we should make sure we are qualified. I personally know I would not be qualified to lay bricks because I’m not very strong and have no expertise on it. Ultimately it would be a waste of money.
It also struck me how Pippa Biddle made the point saying it is more beneficial for a young girl to look up to someone of her own race, culture, and language because then she can more easily relate to who she looks up to. This is something I hadn’t given much thought to, but after reading, I definitely agree with Biddle
Just like Pippa Biddle, I have been on a few different service trips abroad. Biddle stated that her being there was almost the same as her not. I agree that if you show up unprepared and unskilled in what you are there to accomplish, it is better to send over the funds instead. If someone is truly looking to make a difference, they should look for an opportunity that they are trained in and fully prepare themselves before arriving. The service group that I work with has the goal of bringing hope to small villages around the world through reading. The purpose of each trip is to not only build a library, but instill a reading culture in the community. Biddle mentioned that during her trip she did the hard labor of building a library, but the locals would go and fix it afterwards. What my service group actually does is send over the funding to have the village build the library prior to their arrival. This gives the village a sense of involvement and ownership over the library. Once the group arrives, they put together the inside of the library while also focusing attention on creating a reading culture. They do this by holding classes and visiting homes within the community. After the week is over, the group continues to monitor the library’s book usage through a computer system. Service can be both hindering and beneficial to the communities involved and Biddle’s points got me thinking how I can continue to serve in ways that I know will be beneficial.
The HuffPost article by Pippa Biddle was a mindful response to the industry of “voluntourism”. I, like the author, have gone on a “mission trip” before. My church flew a group of parishioners down to Haiti to spend a week at an orphanage helping to build church pews/benches, a goat pen, a water well, and shelves for collected donations- stuff like new shoes, dress/church clothes, books and toys. There was a lot of work to be done, but I, like nearly half of our group, was not especially strong, plus was untrained in any needed skill. I related a lot to Biddle when she said that, during her trips, she could do little else other than horse around with kids. It took very little reflection for me to feel that my presence in Haiti was not only unnecessary, but a waste of funds. It was good, holy work being done, but I know now especially that we were hardly the people to be doing it. Service is a good thing, but oftentimes the best way to serve is to help others enough to help themselves.
My experiences in Freedom House that led to my print idea is the result of noticing what was lacking and the need for uplifting decoration in the rooms. The Freedom House is a non-profit organization that houses and assists families who need help in finances. Through this class, I have worked with Lydia in the behind the scenes and cleaning rooms. But through that, I was able to see some people who live there and meet employees who help out. The main reason why I chose to make a print was that I noticed a need for wall art.
Upon learning about the annual auction and that I can give framed pieces, I concluded that I would make a print, in a set of three. My print has the theme of flowers and cows. Previously, through iterations for the final designs, I was struggling with trying to create something for Freedom House that would represent and be a part of my work.
Here are two final iterations.
I was stuck on designing something that was not entirely inspiring to work on or to even hand in until I noticed a trend of flowers in a few of my ideas. Since my other iterations had more calming, subtle colors, I thought that the imagery of flowers would add to my usual usage of bright colors in my work.
Although I helped in the behind of the scenes of Freedom House, it still leads me to this decision of creating a design that will hopefully feel like a home decor design. I had helped clean up and organize for the people who ran the organization, which helped me understand what sort of environment it is and use a different of perspective for some of my works.
When thinking of the Freedom House in the early stages of my creative process, I knew I wanted to make a piece that the residents could relate to and find comfort in, but that also aligned with the core values of the organization. Throughout my time volunteering and getting to know what the Freedom House is all about, it became apparent that their work is rooted in Christian principles such as compassion and respect for all people. With these values in mind, I knew I wanted my piece to incorporate a bible verse. I ultimately chose the verse of Philippians 4:13; “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” This verse came to mind before any others because it holds a significance in my own life that can be traced back to when my dad shared it with me when I was young and I have carried it with me since.
This verse became the solution I was looking for with my print for the Freedom House because it can have different connotations. By just including the first half- “I can do all things”- residents of any or no faith affiliation who might not be familiar with the verse can find encouragement through a simple phrase. For those who do know the verse, they can fill in the rest in their mind and find comfort in the believes that God is on their side. The flowers surround the texts are a mix of fully bloomed and still in tight buds. The imagery I chose of flowers not only stands to be pleasing to look at, but I also wanted to communicate the idea that everyone succeeds at their own pace, just as a flower blooms when it is ready on its own time.
For this piece I set out hoping to create a piece that I felt resonated with what Freedom House is trying to accomplish. Freedom House is a homeless shelter in Brown County Wisconsin that offers homeless families living quarters and provides resources to to equip families with the resources necessary to become and remain self-sufficient.
While working with Freedom House I learned that they welcome families with open arms as they offer them a new beginning. Through their programs and alongside the aid of religion, Freedom House promotes self-worth, hope, and skills that will launch families into a brighter future. During my time at Freedom House, their organization has shown me how much art and design can affect the atmosphere of an environment which can directly affect the attitude of an individual. It was important to me to step outside of my comfort zone and create and uplifting and quality image for Freedom House. One that the recipient will be proud of, and will enjoy in their new living space.
I created an image of a person holding a white daffodil surrounded by a gold background. The daffodil was chosen due in part because it represents new beginnings. It is a white daffodil because white is the color of purity and hope. Gold is often associated with wealth. This color was chosen for the background as a means to promote self-worth.
Going into this project, I had a difficult time trying to come up with a visually uplifting image that creates an emotional response. In the past, most of my work has consisted of dark imagery, as my goal was to create work that causes people to become aware of the hardships that people go through. Being stuck in Wisconsin in the middle of winter, where everything is frozen, and seemingly dead, was not helping me come up with a visually uplifting image either. I took a trip back home to my native state, Oregon, where spring was occurring and life was blossoming. This environment and the daffodils blooming where what inspired my piece.
Upon this projects completion and my experiences in life, it has more meaning than what I originally planned for. The gold promotes self worth and the idea that each individual is worth more than any amount of money could ever offer. The flower gives the impression that each person is as intricate and beautiful as the daffodil, and not one person or flower is the same. The circle shows me the endless possibilities that we have in our life. Blue, the true blue friendships that we make along the way are ones that will last a lifetime. The hands, someone that will always be there to help us and bring us up as we traverse the plane of life.
Multi-layered Colored Screen Print
Image size: 10.5”x10.5”
Paper size: 12″x12″
One image framed
Edition size: 10-15
Completion of image and work
Work day 4/10
Complete image 4/12
Finish printing by 4/30
After working with Freedom House, I have realized the importance of promoting non-profit organizations. As a design major, I realized how difficult it is to bring art to a facility that has such a wide variety of needs. Freedom House needed much more than promotional material—they needed art on the walls to make their home more welcoming and colorful. Since Freedom House provides basic needs for the homeless in our community, they can’t focus on promoting their events and secondary needs as much as they would like to. Although the organization helps get people in our community back on their feet, their building needs a bit of work. Instead of white walls, or photographs from the 80s, I want to see art that represents the space and lets the residents know they are not alone. Bright colors and eye-catching pieces would help anyone feel more at home and welcomed with open arms.
For my final project in Intermediate Printmaking, I am making a series of screenprinted portraits. Each portrait displays real people going through tough times. These posters will hopefully be displayed in the main hallways of Freedom House in place of what is there now.
With these images, I wanted to put a face to homelessness in Wisconsin. I wanted the individuals to be seen as people who may be struggling but have the same emotions and issues as everyone else. Which is on top of not having the day-to-day necessities to live. Although Freedom House is not a stereotypical homeless shelter because it supports families, I chose to represent adults who may be struggling but have a glimmer of hope.