Laia Abril

Laia Abril, gave a talk to us on her very powerful and meaningful work that she created. Due to my current project Abril, was a key photographer to look at based on the subjects which she has chosen to create and has thereby become the style of her work. 

Laia Abril, is a research based artist and although she mainly works with photography, text, video and sound can also be seen within her work. After graduating from college in 2008, she moved to New York to focus on photography. This is where her decision to tell intimate stories began. Her works create unease and hidden realities related with sexuality, eating disorders and gender equality. The work Abril creates are important, poignant and cover subjects that are taboo in society. 

The first project she started talking to us about was. “A history of misogamy” -Chapter One - On abortion. She brought the project to places such as America and Ireland, places where abortion is an issue or not supported. Not being a stranger to complicated subjects Abril wanted to make sense of the subject and share it with others, the idea being to create discussion and get people talking about the issue. 

The work started in 2015 and was shown in 2016, bringing visibility to the invisible and helping audiences to visualise the issues of not having abortion as a option. The projects are structured to evolve with the times and use art and photography to help people understand. 

Abril, based her research on the history and past of countries and cultures, this helped her highlight on the reputations of abortion and loss. Women dying from at home DIY abortions, peoples mental health due to a child being the result of rape, suicides and much more. Finding out overall that 47,000 women would die due to botched abortions. To understand her roll in all of this Abril researched into abortion laws, gathering lots of information, that would help her to visualise the images. 

The work for her brought up the importance of showing that we don’t know when something belongs to the past, while these things are still happening right now, or the present time.

Part of the work showed organisations that helped people to get abortions safely, starting in Poland, Abril would photograph the women and then combine parts of their journey through images and text. They could be a combination of factual parts of the story, such as, maps, ultrasound scans or clothing. This was the first time within her work that the text was just as important as the photography , if not more, so had to be in the frame. 

Creating perspective change another book of of this project was “DIY Abortions” overall representing the methods of abortion at home from history. Recreated and translated by the photography, images open the objects into a insert that tells how they were used to do abortions at home. Connecting to the stigma, money and other aspects. Some people in the past were arrested for DIY abortions, even though no one knew the background stories of why they had tried to do it. If people knew each individual’s situation it would make their opinions different. 

It was important for Abril, to look into religion as well, within the opinions of abortion. Not to scare them but to create conversation. After the change in that the Pope should forgive abortion, Abril got a women who was none religious to go to confession and record it, asking her to do it multiple times with different priests. Interesting hearing although forgiveness of this had been passed others did not do this within the religion . The taboo topics are her passion and Abril encouraged us to not be afraid of drawing attention to ourselves, but think about finding our balance with others opinions without losing sights of what you want to get across and create awareness of. 

Abril, although stays connected to her topics but has had effects on her that have been caused by the subjects she chose to photograph , such as PTSD and had to get therapy, as a way to help her keep going with her works. Her work has helped me relate to her whole over look and power that her photography has had. Since I was younger I wanted to make changes with my photography and Abril shows this is possible, but to consider ethics highly when creating and to be prepared to get back lash overall.  

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