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A shocking Canadian photography exhibition features small children re-enacting tragic images that are pervasive in the media, like 9/11 or the torture of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib.While critics have blasted Jonathan Hobin's exhibition, The Playroom, as exploitative of children, the Ottawa artist argues that kids know more than we think they do, and it's time to look at how the media culture of violence and horror is affecting them.
“You can't escape these images and this is a reflection of our culture and how it's shaping the next generation,” Hobin told QMI Agency. “I felt it was a conversation that we needed to have.”
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One image shows a child draped black cloth, standing on a box with electric wires clamped to his fingers, in a reference to one of many images of detainees being tortured at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq that surfaced in 2004. Halloween decorations are strewn about on the floor. Another shows a kid crashing a toy plane into Twin Towers built out of blocks, while another little boy dressed as a firefighter looks forlornly at the camera.Hurricane Katrina, the disappearance of teenager Natalie Holloway and former Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean eating a seal's heart are a few more media moments re-enacted for The Playroom.
The parents of my generation were the survivors of WWII and we certainly didn't get hidden away from that sordid past. Nope... we learned from it, or, at least, I hope we did. Perhaps the slow rise of fascism is a signal that we didn't learn enough.