zondag 23 oktober 2011

MDG5 - my goal

A warm hello to you all,
I am looking for your attention please. My name is Melanie Rijkers and I work as a fine art photographer in Breda. The second half of my career (in total over 15 years now) I’ve been involved in more than one ‘social subject’, by creating portraits and documentaries for all beautiful people in this ugly world.
It started with looking up my old schoolmates from last grade of elementary school.

After 20 years we had our first reunion, and half of them didn’t show up. ‘Why?’ I asked myself. Curious after the absent people I decided to visit them. I made portraits of them too, and they shared their lifestories with me. Fascinating. The picked-on girl turned out to be stronger then I thougt. But another picked-on girl was so affraid she didn’t dare to come to the reunion and face her bullies. And the bullies? They couldn’t even remember her.

This really startled me, what people do, or don’t do. But later the scared picked-on girl wrote me a letter saying she was glad she posed for me. This was also something she was scared of doing, but in the end, aŌer seeing the results, it made her stronger. And this is what I do ever since.

Creating artwork that changes people, their self-image. Photography CAN be therapy.
Red-On-Red was therapy to natural redheads, another group of ‘tourmented’ people.
They are so beautiful! Women who sent me an e-mail saying that after seeing the photo
they were finally “proud of herself and her red hair”.

PURE. Young mothers, age 16 to 22, in our country -with one of the lowest teenage pregnancy rates in the world- are not accepted. In the Netherlands, where all seems to be possible, choosing to have a baby at a young age isn’t accepted. If you’re a mother 24 years old (or younger) people ask if having that baby is a mistake, an accident. Why? Why do we judge people for choosing LIFE.

The exhibition 'PUUR. Trotse tienermoeders' and photobook were a huge succes, proud young mothers, posing nude, pregnant or with their baby. Amazing pictures, as there wasn’t any photo editing at all, all portraits are 100% Photoshop-free. In this day of age, with all Barbie look-alikes in the magazines, these young women showed themselves. Naked. PURE.

Life = pure. Pure = life.

One of my recent projects for LIFE was to get as many pregnant women in one photo
as we could. In a co-operation with the city of Breda and Simavi we gathered 113 ‘bolle buiken’ (big bellies) to kick-off the world mothers estafette for Simavi last September. Goal was to collect as many signatures with our petition for the 5th Millenium Goal: reducing the rate of deaths of pregnant and newborn mothers in the 3rd world.

These signatures were handed over to the minister, who was attending the UN summit in 2010 in New York. United Nations have set more Millenium Development Goals, which should be reached in 2015. STOP Maternal mortality is the 5th goal.

The first unique photo event in Breda with all pregnant women was a huge succes. I’d like to continue this in another city or even...country. I know there will be another Simavi estafette this year, but I like to do more. Go to New York City and create a similar photo event there, to draw as much attention as we can, as the 5th Millenium Goal is the one with the worst numbers still. Why is that? Why, in these modern days, women still have to suffer, and in the worst case, die, because of the lack of proper medical equipment or medical knowledge?

Women, mothers, are giving us the future. Children are our future.

Do you support our cause? Please let us know via info@mery.nl If I can find the financial means to travel up there (expenses paid only) we can create another photo event and share our concerns with the world.

Please support this goal - I'd like to do a similar event in New York City, but won't be able to do so without your support:

IBAN: NL41ABNA0607286849 BIC: ABNANL2A - Melanie Rijkers - Artstudio23 Breda

Will be attending the Global Women's Summit in L.A. If you want to meet me, just let me know! Will be there 27 Oct - 1 Nov 2011.