COMBO Street Art: Same Spectacle, New Meaning

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Filed under: Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

Culture Jamming Street Artist COMBO Stages Topless Spectacle in Paris
brooklynstreetart.com
July 18, 2013

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In the face of 21st Century misogyny and a general discomfort with public nipples of the female variety, a male street artist named COMBO just staged a high profile half naked protest with wheat-paste, brushes, and breasts in Paris on July 14. Reinterpreting the painter Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People that commemorated the July Revolution of 1830, COMBO brought the famous topless symbol of Liberty into the streets of 2013 by way of tribute to a brash new feminist movement that is appearing more often across Europe.

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“By hijacking such an iconic piece of art,” says the twenty something art director cum Street Artist, “I want to denunciate the discrimination and other misogynistic behavior that women still suffer too often and to pay a tribute to the activists’ fight.” The activists in this case are people like Inna Shevshenko, the Gen Y leader of Femen, a theatrical and warrior-like group of women who advocate in public displays of power and bare chests to address issues like sexism, misogyny, homophobia, religious hypocrisy, and sex trafficking.

Sure, breasts of young women are naturally attention grabbers and they’ve been accused of cheap manipulation to sell an idea but they contend it is on par with the same objectification that is used to sell shampoo or cars and this time women are the decision makers regarding message.

“A woman’s naked body has always been the instrument of the patriarchy,” Shevshenko is quoted as saying in The Guardian, “they use it in the sex industry, the fashion industry, advertising, always in men’s hands.” Rather than presenting the allegorical goddess-figure of 19th century painters, these women are not striking a pleasant, pleasing and pliant pose, but rather one of power in their efforts to champion rights for women and girls.

Read more here.