I am the creator of the art installation outside of the Bowdoin chapel, titled “God’s Body God’s Choice.” This is a pro-choice piece for VART 3503 and the prompt was “Small but Mighty.” Important context for my art is represented in my artist’s statement below.
In Loving Memory of Roe v. Wade:
This installation is purposefully crafted to deconstruct the common ignorance we share as Bowdoin students. Between classes, we are guilty of mindlessly following on our paths, surrounded by visuals and landmarks we’re accustomed to. We create dialogue with individuals that largely echo our same perspectives, but when we encounter things that reach beyond the confines of our Bowdoin bubble, how do we react? How can we interpret something we expect to disagree with without biases? This piece forces Bowdoin students to look beyond our initial judgments.
My art utilizes traditional Christian ritual and symbolism in a nontraditional way. The work, much like the title, is a medium for the conjunction of Christian ideology with feminist ideology, representing the inextricable connections between the two. Jarring imagery, such as a large cross, babies and gravestones all placed next to the campus’s nondenominational chapel, is used to cause innate shock to the viewer. My goal with this art is to force viewers to work through that discomfort. When students take time to pause and interpret this piece, they will notice the female anatomy that is burned into the cross (power to the pussy!). Babies suspended in midair are representative of this gift of life falling from heaven—a common Christian myth to tell children to shelter them from the realities of childbirth—but they rain over the graves of their own mothers who were forced through labor with no one to catch them. These swaddled, living babies also mock the Evangelical groups that use their own damn children as propaganda on our campus. Gravestones below represent mothers whose lives were lost in a period where abortion was outlawed. Text on the mother’s gravestones reiterates this by including significant dates in the progression (and current regression) of Roe v. Wade. It reads:
1880: Rhetoric around the criminalization of abortion spikes
1910: Abortion criminalized nationwide
1930: Escalation of mother’s death by makeshift abortion tactics
1972: Last year before Roe v. Wade
2022: Roe v. Wade overturned
I use the form of a general shrine you may see on the side of the road in memory of someone who tragically lost their life. I mimic this form not to mock, but to emulate the sentiment of memorial for the death of Roe v. Wade.
Sophia Rosati is a member of the Class of 2024.