FGM, early marriage, and teenage pregnancy are global social problems affecting the health and development of women and girls, often for their entire life.
Hailing from Ethiopia, Degaffe’s work reminds us of the persisting inequalities in the world, where the majority of people lack the fundamental opportunities to thrive and live a life in dignity. Degaffe also points out that many human rights violations such violence against women and genocide are universal.
The “universality of endurance” emphasizes that all human beings may face difficulties in their life, and that we all possess the intrinsic powers of endurance and resilience.
Often allegoric, Degaffe’s art includes the 'endurance art features' such as an elongated neck for the beauty and tenacity of women, faces without ears symbolizing not being heard, discs representing the Ethiopian bread “Injera” but also recurring thoughts in our head, protruding rib cages evocating hunger and other forms of deprivation, and a missing eye which is looking into the interior or symbolizes being watched. The background is often filled with moving bodies of water and mountains. Human portraits and landscapes are incorporated into each other.
Celosia flowers give tribute to victims of genocide. The painting itself is torn up, as result of massacres by primitive weapons.
The background of mountain and lake signify the influence of voyage on the artist.
Narrates the challenge to end the universal problematic of obstetric fistula, (incarnated here by the feline). A young girl victim of early marriage and obstetric fistula gazes forward with haunting eyes.
Among the series of works inspired after the visit to the Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa, in 2008.
The girls coming out of surgery- their face and eyes tell their story, as they lay on the hospital bed.
The lack of colors in the painting shows the gravity of the problem.
A round face inside the triangle of the hospital bed, and a diagonal black line in the background to symbolize 'STOP' -
Stop early marriage! Stop obstetric fistula!
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