Design Brief:

A large-scale photographic poster designed to inform and persuade viewers to take up action against the atrocities committed to the Aboriginal children in the past by appealing to their sense of empathy. It hones in on the issue of residential schools and the lasting impact it has made on the Aboriginal community. 

The children who were forced to attend were horribly and unjustly abused, raped, and beaten, and still to this day, their ancestors are too afraid to enrol their kids in school because of the memories attached to them. My image conveys this issue by tapping in to the viewer’s pathos, instilling in them a surge of empathy, sadness, and horror. I achieved this by parodying a ‘back to school’ poster, with school supplies scattered all around a chalkboard. I juxtaposed what the viewer expects to see vs what they actually see once they pay more attention. At first glance it would seem to be a regular school poster, but once the viewer reads the message scrawled on the chalkboard, they instantly understand the weight of the underlying message.

The text itself is handwritten with chalk, to give the piece a more personal feel, like someone had actually written this message to someone. The chalkboard is laid out on a wooden surface with school supplies surrounding it to give off the impression that this is someone’s desk that they work at, and that someone (nun/teacher/school/etc) has placed this message before them. All the pens and pencils lead towards the center object, the chalkboard, in order to draw the viewers attention. The edges of the photograph are also slightly smoother and darker, compared to the harsh line of the chalk writing in the middle. I chose to slightly mute the colours a little, in order to not give the overall image such a cheery vibe.

Copyright © 2020 Ashley Sterling Lopez

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