You may have heard recently that there are charity shops being inundated with copies of Fifty Shades of Grey and its sequels. Indeed, one Oxfam store in Swansea, Wales, even built a fort out of their unwanted copies.
Whilst the thought that a series that romanticises stalking, threats and emotional abuse is cluttering up charity shop shelves, unsold and unwanted, is obviously enough to put a smirk on our faces, Natalie and I began to realise that simply recycling the books is something of a missed opportunity. Why not use them?
Art – in all its glorious forms – is a wonderful way of spreading a powerful message. Paintings, sculptures, sonnets and musical compositions have a way of getting under our skin and forcing us to confront issues. So, why not use all of those unwanted copies of Fifty Shades… to create works of art?
This is where you come in!
We’ve hit upon the idea of creating a movement that rises out of all of those unwanted books, piled up on charity shop shelves. We want to encourage as many of you as possible to go to your local charity shop, buy a copy of one of the Fifty Shades… books and turn it into a piece of art that stands against abuse. Then, we’d like you to take a high quality photo of your artwork (or video, if you choose to record a song or make a film!) and send it to us, along with a short description (max. 200 words) of what you’ve created and why you felt you wanted to get involved. You can either tweet photos/video directly to us on Twitter at @50shadesabuse, via our Facebook page, or even send them to us via email (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you send your artwork to us on Twitter, please don’t forget the all-important hashtag, #ArtAgainstAbuse! We’ll be sharing all of your creations with the same hashtag, in the hope of sending our message viral and we’ll be creating a public Facebook photo album of everything we receive, too.
Please remember that to get involved, you don’t have to be a fabulous painter, or an expert in sculpture (although if you are, please do join in!). Your art can be anything you like. Some ideas include:
- Using the pages to create a paper mache sculpture
- Creating a collage from the pages
- Making up a poem using the actual text from the books
- Writing a song using the text as the lyrics
- Painting a picture, using the book pages in the painting
- Drawing sketches over the pages
- Building a sculpture from the books themselves
- Acting out scenes, focusing on the abuse.
- Origami using the pages
If you need added inspiration, there is a gallery of images of books that have been turned into various different works of art here – although we don’t want to put pressure on anyone to be creating something massive (unless you want to!).
Our current intention with Art Against Abuse is to simply get the hashtag trending and spread the movement as far and wide as possible, so please, if you know anyone who paints, sculpts, draws, designs, writes or makes music, send them this blog and encourage them to get involved if they can! We really want to turn all of these unwanted copies of Fifty Shades… into creations that speak out against the very thing that the books romanticise – abuse.
With time, we’d love to look into displaying a collection of the artwork that’s created during the Art Against Abuse project (ideally to coincide with the release of the next film), or even to produce a book of photos of all the artwork, plus quotes from contributors as to why they wanted to get involved. But first and foremost – let’s get this idea off the ground!
Please, please have a think about joining in with Art Against Abuse. Pick up a pencil, a paintbrush or a pair of scissors and just see what happens! Or, if you’re musically creative, pick up an instrument and have a think about how the books’ text could form lyrics and make us a video of the song you write as a result! Recycle these books into something beautiful that sends a powerful message: we will not tolerate seeing abuse romanticised in fiction.
The project starts TODAY, so there’s no better time to get yourselves down to your local charity shop and start creating your masterpiece! Send whatever you create to us with the hashtag #ArtAgainstAbuse and we’ll share it. And PLEASE remember – we’re looking for ALL kinds of art. If all you can offer is a simple doodle on a page, that’s fine. We just want as many people as possible to join in!
Oh, and yes, we’ll be making our own works of art, too. 😉
Thanks as always for your amazing support and here’s to seeing what we all create!
Emma & Natalie