Provocative 'Los Intocables' Series Calls Attention to Horrors Faced by Children (NSFW)

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Artist Erik Ravelo’s controversial series “Los Intocables” (The Untouchables) aims to “preserve and defend the right to a childhood” in a world that often threatens the safety and innocence of its most vulnerable citizens. Featuring photographs of children posed as if crucified on the backs of surgeons, priests, soldiers and others, the series forces its viewers to confront unspeakable hardship facing many children.

Each photograph refers to a separate horror faced; pedophilia, the war in Syria, organ trafficking, child sex tourism in Thailand, nuclear radiation, childhood obesity and school shootings.

Ravelo has been criticized for the series in general, as well as his use of a religious icon-crucifixion-in what some have called a “pornographic” series. Ravelo, a Christian, points out that the icon of Jesus on the Cross cannot be claimed by any individual or group: “The religious icon is not someone else’s religious icon. It’s my icon too, it’s my culture, it’s my education, it’s the way I was taught to communicate.”

While Ravelo has taken heavy criticism for the series, he seems surprised that the negative responses are aimed at him, and not at the issues his series aims to call attention to. “I still don’t understand why some people are mad at me, but they’re not mad about these problems. Some people get offended by the photos but not by the problems the photos [address].”

Ravelo also notes that many of the "models" in the photographs are his friends and their children, and that the children's faces are pixelated to protect their identities and lend anonymity in the representation of larger issues.

The series is undoubtedly uncomfortable to look at, and why shouldn’t it be? It is ultimately a visual representation of the unimaginable harm inflicted on children, and intended to provoke action to bring the things it represents to an end. The outrage surrounding this series should not be about the photographs themselves, or the iconography used by Ravelo, but rather at the fact that the issues represented in 'Los Intocables' exist in our world today.

Partnered with artistic director Daniel Ferreira, Ravelo created a short video introducing ‘Los Intocables’. Ravelo’s previous work includes photography for the well-known UNHATE campaign, sponsored by the Benetton Group, featuring photographs of world leaders kissing. You can find more of Ravelo’s work on his website.

[via News.com.au]

All images used with permission.

 
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7 Comments

I think they are really good. The fact that people are mad at the artist is because of the children and we don't want to face these atrocities. Art is supposed to stir emotion and this does.

Fantastic idea and very brave of the photographer to confront the issues

Amazing idea . You would think this would call attention to the horrors children face everywhere .

"The religious icon is not someone else’s religious icon. It’s my icon
too, it’s my culture, it’s my education, it’s the way I was taught to
communicate.”

In creating art, he also destroys it. The Cross, that symbol, has its own symbolism that he appropriates to make a pastiche out of it: he covers the symbol with a layer of meaning, not of interpretation. The criminals were crucified, but certainly Jesus was not a criminal; so, those replacing the Cross in the images are the Evil and the children are the innocents. This a case of metonymy. Now, the Cross is just a mere sign. But, as we know, there is plenty more to the Cross: it represents more than a single episode and it arranges how people live their beliefs about God, evil and good, life and death.

It's good that the photographer cares about the issues children face in the world, and it's good the images call attention and action, but his work is not art since he uses two strategies to destroy symbols.

David Vaughn's picture

Your incoherent art-speak holds no power against the mighty Webster.

Art ˈärt, ərt noun

"Something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings."

Do you really believe that shit? Oh, come on. Get yourself books, not dictionary definitions.

the images are alright, but it really doesn't sit right with me to compare a kid being overweight to things like institutional sexual abuse/slavery and war. feeding your kid too much fast food is not the same as selling them to a brothel.