Society Killed the Teenager; the New Exhibit at Image Factory
Society Killed the Teenager, that’s the name of a distinctively provocative exhibition being staged at the Image Factory by two students of SJC Junior College. Briheda Haylock and Ruhiel Trejo’s style combines emotions and politics to express their views on a number of issues that range from the religious to the sexual. News Five’s Jose Sanchez reports.
Jose Sanchez, Reporting
Video may have killed the Radio Star but two young artists believe that Society Killed the Teenager. The exhibit is not just a name, but is evident in the images created by the artists. For Briheda Haylock it’s a tour de force of emotions.
Briheda Haylock, Artist
“My stuff is based on emotions; what you go through in everyday life and your individualism. And because some people are ridiculed because of being free spirited or because they feel like they are craving attention, but that’s not the case—they are just being themselves. It’s a 3D piece art and collage. It says, “your life hands by a thread. All you can do is scream; leaving yourself in pain. Slowly your life is running out. You stab yourself wounded. You cry for help; no one can hear you. But you wake up from this nightmare only to find out you are six feet under. It’s not death; it is just self-suicide emotionally. It’s like if you are going through something, it puts them into depression. We all go through it; you can’t tell me you don’t go through depression sometimes, but your one is more severe. You are getting lost in yourself, you don’t know who you are at the point and you are just experimenting doing all different things, but you are slowly killing yourself emotionally.”
Ruhiel Trejo, the other mixed media and collage conspirator, attacked not the emotional but the political senses.
Ruhiel Trejo, Artist
“For me, it’s a lot of meanings. One of the meaning si that they are so much people that are caught up with the whole P.U.P./U.D.P. if you are U.D.P. and I am P.U.P. then I shouldn’t talk with you. So in a sense, in those times with the queen, you are either with the queen or against the queen—you have an ultimatum. And that’s like in Belize; some of the U.D.P. hold up dean Barrow like an iconic or someone that holds a lot of power. And they believe that if you’re P.U.P. and I am U.D.P. then I shouldn’t talk to you or to do with you.”
One wall is adorned with regularly televised faces whose identities are forged in plastic.
“Plastic for me is the outer layer of someone. Like let’s say you buy an I-phone and some people just don’t look at the package and that’s like in Belize. These people they just look at them like plastic products and they don’t really understand inside; they don’t really know these people. Everybody just have a basic concept idea of them but they don’t really know who they are. I use the message they are trying to portray in their time and I twisted it for our time like right now in Belize.”
“But you think Martin Luther King have a dream for people to be equally sexual all depending on their sexuality. Do you think he would agree with what you are doing?’
“Actually I think he would agree because at that time when he was fighting for equality, there were a lot of mixed couples in the U.S. that couldn’t get married because the church or religious people did not believe that white and black should mix. So in that sense I think that he was fighting for human rights on a whole; so he would understand homosexuality.”
“As you are well aware, there is a big battle with UNIBAM. And you have Mahatma Gandhi as your message for respecting lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals. Do you think Gandhi would go for that; do you think the public in general would go for that or is this just you?”
“It’s just me. I am the artist; I just create the art. It is them who interpret the art. I don’t really care how they interpret it—that’s their business. I just create the art.”
Trejo’s art has visions of Andy Worhol, but like a shadow of society, Haylock’s most provocative pieces are small boxes.
“I am showing that not all depression is the same—some of us are in a room, sad, we look in a mirror reflecting—not knowing who we are. That’s why the mirror is in there—self-reflection. We do know that people cut themselves. You know, we are suicidal or you are just craving attention from someone when it is not the case. Some people see it as a calming way of dealing with pain. That’s why we have the razor blade and diary.”
“Now the first one looks like a person crouched over, with a bottle. What si that room showing?”
“That room depicts that that person is drinking him/herself to sleep. It si not an identifiable person and on him I have written loser, lifelessness, lies, pain, addiction, demons, lust, love, promiscuous—all of these things happen in our country. We all go through some of these things and these are the things that put us in this state.”
“What it means to me is yes society kills the teenager, but in Belize, most of the basic population are teenagers. So what I am trying to say is that it is not the older generation that are literally killing us but it’s each other. In a sense that some people aren’t as open-minded to certain stuff and when you dress a different way and listen to certain music, they put you down because they are so caught up in a Jamaican identity instead of having a Belizean identity.”
“Would you say your art—all of it—is essentially your soul; an emotional representation of who you are?
“Yes. It is also inspired by what’s around me—it’s not only me, it is what I see and hear every day. I have this personality where people confide in me and it makes what I am doing stronger. People can relate to it.”
Society Killed the Teenager Opens on Friday night at the Image Factory. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.
The two artists took six months to develop their work and it is their first major exhibition.