My name is Xtina Liozeaux Stillwaggon, I grew up in Central New Jersey in a suburban town called Basking Ridge. In 2010, I graduated from Ridge High School where I had a supportive art department to prepare me for art school. Currently, I am a senior studying for a BFA at Alfred University.
I focus on how cultural imagery and popular culture influence social interaction and persona. There are two parts of my investigation: public persona or how people present themselves, as individuals and as a group, and what others interpret from their image. My current project is Another Day in Paradise, an investigation of Wal-Mart as an economical and cultural icon. I am interested in exposing Wal-Mart’s failure to uphold its values in its business practice.
I utilize many different types of media such as photography, neon, glass and even sugar in response to my research. Since my concepts are associated iconography and popular imagery photographs, whether it is my own documentation or found, is important in contextualizing my work. Glass and neon are important to transcend the imagery importance and neon plays a specific role because it is iconic in its use of signage.
Another Day in Paradise is about the Wal-Mart Corporation and its impact in global economy and society. The two countries represent in these show are Bangladesh and the United States. Bangladesh has surpassed China in fabric production and exporter to major retailers like Sears, Target and Wal-mart. The high demand for low prices have led to poor management, working conditions and low pay. On several occasions, Bangladesh fabric factories have failed from collapse or fire. In November 2012, the Tazreen Fashions Factory was destroyed by a fire and killed 112 people and injured over 200 others. The last disaster was the collapse of Dana Plaza factory, in April 2013, left 1,129 people dead and over 2,500 injured. Both factories have sold fabric goods to Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart’s response to the factory collapse was they were “unaware the factory sold goods to them.”
Eight art works were chosen for the show Post Present which represented Wal-Mart’s involvement in the Bangladesh disasters. The Spark in Wal-Mart’s new icon it represents Wal-Mart’s six values and beliefs: Respect for the Individual, Service to our Customer, Striving for Excellence, Quality Products, Unbeatable Prices, and Easy Shopping. Spark was made with neon tubes that were not meant to be lit. This represents Wal-Mart’s failure to uphold its values and beliefs not only in Bangladesh, but in all aspects of its business.
The two flags, Star Strangled Banner (American flag) and Sun over Bengal (Bangladesh flag), are re-branded to show both countries’ lack of its original values. The original American flag is represent of patriotism, nationalism and a land made free for all people. The original Bangladesh flag is a green rectangle with a red circle in the center. The green is the lushness of the country’s landscape and the red circle is the sun over Bengal. Star Strangled Banner and Sun over Bengal colors are the Wal-Mart colors; blue, yellow, and white. The red circle has been replaced with a Rollback smiley face and the stars in the flag are meant to be the Wal-Mart stars. By re-branding both flags they are now representing Wal-Mart’s domain and the new value, capitalism.
Sam Walton, David Glass, H. Lee Scott, Mike Duke are the portraits of the four CEO’s of Wal-Mart. They are combined with iconic relgious and historical imagery to heighten their power and importance. Many powerful men; kings, Pharaohs, religious figures and idols have been placed among divinity. The four men of Walmart have achieved status through expanding the Wal-Mart Empire like kings expanded their territory or religious figures gained more followers. The image used for Smile. You are saving even more! was taken at the Dana Plaza factory collapse in April 2013. This image was enlarged, printed as a cyanotype, cut, pieced together and hanged from two plastic clothing hangers. Hanging the print was a deliberate choice to show the disposal of this tragedy in the name of low prices.
In addition to my artwork, viewers can donate money to the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights. They are leading a campaign to raise money for those who were injured in the 2013 factory collapse. You can either donate cash or purchase Wal-mart theme candy in support of the devastated families in Bangladesh. Candies are $3.00 for a bag and any donation amount is welcomed. Thank you so much for your support.
To learn more about the factory collapse or the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights visit the website: http://www.globallabourrights.org/.
Visit my blog at: xswag.wordpress.com
If you wish to contact me please email me at xstillswaggin[at]gmail.com.