This essay is regarding the work of Georges Braque, the technique/methodology utilized in the cubist paintings and how the technique of cubism relates to the issue of teenage workers in the industrialization of Haiti. The field of art always remained influential on human civilization though its impact on our culture, architecture, society and perceptions. The art of cubism is one of the most influential art forms among the modernist art styles. It originated around the year 1907 through the paintbrushes of Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso considered pioneers of cubist art.
The observation of the technique of cubism is critical in perceiving the relation of the art movement and the social issue (subject) in consideration. In cubism, the paintings depict a person, object or building (subject of the painting) is fragmented manner showing the object through many dimensions. This allows the viewer to witness the object from not one but many viewpoints allowing the viewer the freedom to perceive the subject of the image through his point of view.
The image generated through a cubist painting showed a 3 dimensional view of the object which was not possible through a camera. This gave art a higher podium as it was capable of innovation more than anything else.
Cubism was an advanced level of art on the canvas and reflected the advancement of society as the modern age was also the age of numerous perceptions extending the thought process of people. This factor can be associated with the scenario of industrialization process. This was noteworthy enough but how the concept of cubism reflected into society and analyzing social problems is something very unique. The concept of social cubism introduced by Sean Byrne and Neal Carter showed how a social issue or the condition of a country can be viewed through a social cube consisting of ethnographic factors. Through this, the resolution of a social conflict became easy. These correlating factors between the art style of cubism and social cubism allowing a conflict resolution are noteworthy.
The poor country is focus for this research is Haiti, which is currently facing the grave problems of child labor occurring due to industrialization and lack of economic power to sustain a high standard of life for people. It is country with a population of 9 million out of which 34% of the population is between the age group. Haiti faces problems like low life expectancy, high death rate, high level of mortality because of AIDS and the amount of child labor observed in Haiti is 21% of the population falling in the age group 5 to 14. The per capita GDP of Haiti comes at 207th place when compared to other countries in the world (Central Intelligence Agency, 2015). The process of industrialization is beginning in Haiti and it accounted for 8% of the country’s total GDP in 2008 which has now reached to 20%. The infrastructure required for Haiti to be successfully industrialized hasn’t still developed which is causing a low rate of industrialization. Also due to an unemployment rate of 40%, the child laborers work for low wages and face harsh situations even as house laborers (The World Bank, 2006).
The model of this research is Georges Braque, is one of the pioneers of Cubism and is believed to be the father of Cubism. Cubism was an art movement which originated during the advent of 20th century and introduced a new outlook in the field of art. The art that originated from cubism very unique at the time and gave rise to a highly intellectual debate. Cubism a part of the modernist art forms. It was noticed in the earlier works of cubism that normal objects or landscapes were represented in quasi-locked geometrical shapes with a lack of realistic color and texture which highlighted the object. The painting depicting architecture like the ‘Viaduct at L’Estaque’ and Houses at Estaque depict an architectural specimen in different dimension allowing a higher level of perception to the viewer. As a cube is the most basic shape that can be used to show 3 dimensions of the object. The objects in Cubism are shown in different angles.
Figure 1 Houses at Estaque
The objects are brought together by utilizing similar color for both the objects and hiding the borderlines. There is a distinct illusion visible as the viewer is exposed to more angles than there are usually visible. The concept of cubism is heavily reflected in these paintings showing that Georges Braque delved deeply into cubism influencing later sub-forms of cubism. There is no doubt that these paintings show distinct characteristics of cubism.
The topic which is to be explored in context with cubism as an art movement is regarding teenage workers in industrialization in Haiti. This topic has a wide scope but a definite target. The views of Gedeon can be utilized to understand how Teenage workers represent the issue of child labor which has not yet been resolved due to the low level of literacy and awareness as the Haiti is categorized as a poor one (Gedeon, 2014). The teenage workers can be considered the focal point of this subject as the industrialization process relies on their shoulders and this issue can also be resolved by introducing reforms and uplifting this particular segment of society. This topic is of great value as it has grave implications which have yet not been resolved. It can be called a current issue as industrialization has reached Haiti at a slow pace. This issue has been viewed by many other countries which have already developed and the observations and opinions have a high level of polarity.
If the issue is taken in the perspective of a style painting, the industrialization process in the poor country forms the background of the canvas and the teenage children working in the factories in Haiti become the subject of the painting.
The aspect of social cubism comes into consideration while talking about this issue. Social Cubism is viewing a social issue with six types of views. This structure is the brainchild of Sean Bryne and Neal Carter and it takes the help of a framework to interrelate 6 types of social forces (Byrne & Carter, 1996). It has been in use for solving ethnopolitcal conflicts but it can also be used to analyze Haiti in a sociopolitical context. This structure has a clear relation with cubist painters Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso as they gave birth to the concept of cubism in which an object can be viewed with different perspectives. In certain ethnographic and social issues, it is essential that the issue is analyzed from multiple viewpoints to get a clear idea of the situation. Social Cubism has been utilized earlier to analyze social issues in poor countries like Haiti and Sri Lanka for solving conflicts. As an art movement has reached at a place, where a style of painting originated in the beginning of 20th century is being utilized to understand social issues and resolve conflicts, it can be appalling how art can influence societal elements in such way. This fact makes the topic extremely interesting to research deep into its possibilities.
The demographic forces derived from the structure can be used for analyzing concepts like space, population and double minority & majority. The historical forces will include the study of part revolutions and post-earthquake efforts in Haiti. Nationalism, populism, and voter consensus are some of the forces that can be covered among the political factors in the social cube. The economic forces residing in the social cube will include analysis of poverty and colonialism. The religious factors in the social cube can lead to introspection of the religions than people follow in Haiti which can lead to an interesting dynamic in this case as 80% of the population has been suspected of practicing voodoo. The psychocultural factors inside the social cube will give rise to a discussion regarding fear, symbolism and individual identity inside Haiti. The social cube structure visualized by Carter et al. form an analytical model for Haiti which covers multiple dimensions just like a painting in cubism covers multiple dimensions of an object or structure (Byrne, Carter, & Senehi, 2003).
Figure 4 The Social Cube
As Cubism as an art movement/style of painting gave rise to the concept of social cubism, which is essential in solving a grave issue like teenage workers in industrialization of a poor country, the methodologies can be clearly aligned. The relationship can be established in an even clearer way if the paintings themselves or their history is not taken into account but the style of painting and the purpose behind the particular style of painting is given proper attention. (Byrne, Carter, & Senehi, 2003)
The issue in question regarding teenage workers in a poor country on account of industrialization can be analyzed rigorously by the viewpoint of a social cube. This social cube by Byrne and Carter can be utilized to analyze the issue by breaking the subject’s different perspectives into six parts (Byrne & Carter, 1996). The issue is appropriate to resolve using the social cube due to the fact that the concept of social cube is used to establish a connection between conflict due to a social issue and development.
First, it is critical to observe how the cubist painter painted his analytic cubism paintings to gain a perspective. Georges Braque used to focus on an object or a structure in a landscape and show every aspect of the subject in focus so that the viewer can view the object in a clearer 3 dimensional way. The subject in focus will be the teenage workers which can be viewed through the spectrum of the social cube and analyzed properly. The five factors which will be taken into account for analysis will be demographics, history, religion, economic factors, political factors, and psycho-cultural factors. (Byrne & Carter, 1996)
Observing Haiti as a nation that is currently encountering industrialism with new factories rising to create goods for the developed countries to consume, Haiti Is facing acute amount of child labor. It has been estimated that around 3 million kids are child laborers in Haiti working in these factories. The 75% population of Haiti resides in poverty and job creation is stunted due to the unemployment rate that is 60% as of now and is still increasing. (Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2013)
Dupuy suggests that the most harsh impact of these conditions are faced by the teenage workers of Haiti who work in factories with minimum wage rates and still being unable to feed themselves (Dupuy, 2014). They do not have a future other than working as a laborer because their childhood and teenage is spent working in factories.
Cubism can also be taken to observe the views about this problem on a global level. Many countries consider themselves as developing countries and think that they need to focus on developing themselves more. The under-developed countries can recognize the problem of Haiti but would not be able to do anything about it. Finally the developed countries carry a motive oriented aid policy at times and do not provide any help to this nation as it really needs. If all the given aspects in the social cube are observed and analyzed, a detailed opinion will be formed by observing the subject from many viewpoints, which is the objective and logic of cubism.
The industrialization occurring in Haiti can be depicted by the concept of analytical cubism through the images of a factory with chimneys blowing smoke. The factory can be shown from multiple dimensions and will be the focal point of the image while the children working while their toys lay on the ground untouched can be depicted in the background or the foreground. There can also be a variation in the painting where the multiple dimensions of the factory depict the negative effects of industrialization in Haiti inside the different dimensions. With cubism in consideration, there are multiple possibilities involved in how cubism can be drawn in a painting where multiple dimensions show the 6 forces or factors are shown by using a singular object, or building.
The Issue of teenage workers in the industrialization of a Haiti is an ongoing issue which came into highlight after the earthquake in Haiti. The majority of teenage population is occupied in working at factories. There is a profound presence of child labor in Haiti that can be considered as the root of economic degradation of the country. As long as the children of Haiti are occupied in working at factories rather than getting an education, the amount of literate people will remain very low and job creation will be stagnant. Rapid development of society and economy both are hindered due to this issue.
The observation of Haiti through the social cube may expand the possibilities for a solution. Looking at the religious factor in Haiti, religion in Haiti defines the category of people. This can increase the level of social conflicts in future not allowing the overall development of people. Political factors indicate that there is very high amount of loyalty to political party regardless of requirements of the country or the performance of the party. This can prove unhealthy for the political and economic state of the country not allowing the development of Haiti and decreasing the speed of reforms in the country. (UNICEF, 2014)
Looking at the demographic factors, the population of the country is increasing at a rapid rate which has been seen in countries with a low level of literacy. Due to the rapid increase in population, there is a high amount of migration witnessed in Haiti. In the psycho-cultural factor, there is high level of polarity found in population between the Haitians speaking French and the population not speaking French. This widens the gap between the populations, making the pace of progress slow. Looking at the historical factor, there were many instances of conflict and inconsistence. According to the study by Dubois & Garrigus, due to a rigorous political problem, USA troops occupied Haiti till 1934 from 1915. There was a 29 year long dictatorship by the Duvalier family which was followed by a rule of provisional governments. (Dubois & Garrigus, 2006) Due to inconsistency, there hasn’t been a strong foundation for Haiti. Looking at the most critical economic factors, there have been heavy budget deficits for the past 10 years expenditures are more than revenues and there is bankruptcy in the national treasure. Pierre observes that without the help of other countries, Haiti cannot possibly survive or progress (Pierre, 2002).
Looking through the social cube gave the root causes for the problem and probable solution to the issue. But still, a complete solution hasn’t been found. It can be safely assumed that NGOs from other countries can be of invaluable help to these people but internal reforms are also necessary to improve the condition of teenagers in Haiti.
This established correlation of the art style of cubism (also analytical cubism) being established with the hands of Georges Braque and the concept of social cubism finding it’s place and attempting to resolve the issue of teenage children involved in the industrialization of a poor country shows how art has a profound influence on many aspects of modern society and culture.
Bureau of International Labor Affairs. (2013). Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor – Haiti. Washington: United States Department of Labor.
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