The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) in association with War Child UK have selected the artist Charming Baker to provide the visual focal point for the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict. The summit will take place at ExCel London between 10th – 13th June 2014 and aims to create irreversible global momentum towards ending sexual violence in conflict.
The summit will be the largest ever international gathering held on this issue with over 1,200 delegates, including government officials, 200 Foreign Defence and Development ministers, representations from international organisations and a wide range of global experts from the legal, military, humanitarian and NGO sectors.
Charming Baker’s sculptural installations Loves Revolution and Faith’s Leap have been chosen by the FCO and War Child to be displayed at the centre of the Summit to provide a visual narrative of the dislocation of living with conflict and the disproportionate impact that this has on children. A child’s toy passenger plane in monumental-scale lies suspended, inverted and prone – alluding to the fear and powerlessness of victims of war.
Rob Williams, CEO of War Child UK said: “Fear plays a central role in the lives of children living through conflict, fear of attacks can prevent them going to school, playing – having any sense of normality. Fear is also a huge driver of sexual violence; perpetrated in order to incite control over communities and is often a primary reason for families fleeing areas of conflict. Charming Baker’s sculptures highlight fear as an inhibiting factor in life, both in experiencing issues and in attempting to face them, but his works also stress this can and should be challenged and replaced with hope”
The sculptures are a striking metaphor for fear and the artworks echo the significant role it plays in acts of sexual violence. For example, Syrian refugees cited sexual violence as a primary reason for fleeing the country; it is also one of the key reasons for perpetrating sexual violence in conflict to instil and spread fear through communities, in order to exert a sense of control.
Sexual violence is now globally recognised as one of the most devastating tools of conflict affecting women, men and children – the latter perhaps most shocking and difficult to acknowledge and discuss. Boys and girls are often the hidden victims yet the last World Health Organisation study estimated that 150 million girls and 73 boys had experienced rape or other forms of sexual violence across the globe. Art has a significant role to play in addressing some of the toughest social issues, Baker said:
“I’m honoured that these pieces will be on show at the summit. They are works born out of a need to confront the idea of fear, fear that we all might face at some time or other. It seemed altogether appropriate to show them in this context, I’m thrilled to be even a small part of such a worthy cause.”
The FCO aims to deliver a set of practical agreements that bring together and focus the efforts of the whole international community, including governments, the UN, NGOs and civil society, to end such fear. The summit will be chaired by UK Foreign Secretary William Hague and Special Envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Angelina Jolie.
Baker has also teamed up with Jealous Gallery to produce an exclusive limited edition print to be sold in aid of War Child UK, representing the fallen dove of peace. You can see the print on display at War Child’s tented simulation within the Summit’s public fringe and pre-order at the event and online.
Image Top: Charming Baker, Love’s Revolution (2013), 6 x 8 m
Charming Baker , A Fall To Alms (Gold), (2014) Special Edition Print, Signed and numbered edition of 25 88.5 x 70cms on Hahnemuhle photo rag 308gsm Giclee and two layer silkscreen with spot varnish with Hand drawn dove and 24 carat hand applied gold leaf £595 incl.VAT