My time in the Master of Arts in Design program has allowed me to focus on my passion for education through travel. The philosophy behind my practice is based on increasing awareness of self and others; understanding our actions through visual representation and promoting a sustainable change in social equity by beginning an empathetic dialogue between people for improving relationships.
Historically, tourism has been highly regarded as having a positive effect on economies. However, this impact is shifting. “Tourist” is a word that can be seen as disrespectful, egocentric, and vain. Jumping at the thought of being immersed in beautiful landscapes blanketed in rich historical context as defined by our western culture, I romanticized my travel through blogging and social media posts. My experiences quickly turned to concern and awareness; awareness of blight, homogenization, and social injustices. Bodies for Sale is one iteration in a larger conversation and series entitled Tourist: The New Dirty Word examining the tourist and tourism industry and its impact as a multi-layered experience; our blind romanticism obscured by layers of injustice and consumerism.
Vintage Caribbean travel posters of the mid 20th century are currently sold by the thousands through novelty art retailers and online vendors. These colorful images are hung in homes and businesses and prized for their aesthetic value. These posters are largely viewed as decorative accouterments; for some, they are reminiscent of a past trip or act as a visual cue for desired travel goals. However, while seemingly innocuous to the casual viewer, these posters can be seen as idealistically transforming our notions of “the foreigner,” through a process of othering while intersecting notions of power and human commodity in the sex tourism trade. While this exhibition does not seek to condemn the practice of sex tourism for the sake of its workers earning a living, it does aim to research and illustrate how these mid-century modern images have shaped the historical, political and social implications of tourism-dependent economies and their exploited identity through abjection and conceptualization. this exhibition seeks to start a conversation and ask ourselves how to have these classic posters have perpetuated problematic ideas of fantasy and the exotic impacting the commoditization of humans in the global sex tourism trade.
What my time at KCAD meant to me
One of the great experiences of my time at KCAD has been the study abroad program; this has allowed me to immerse myself in new layers of connection between ourselves and other cultures. I found myself romanticizing my travel through social media and online posts. My experience quickly turned to a greater awareness of blight, homogenization, and social injustices. My time in the MA in Design program has allowed me to focus and examine the impact of tourism and how to create thoughtful design solutions, as well as continue my research to earn a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies.