Civil rights in Kuwait leave a lot to be desired. I constantly hear horror stories of how domestic workers are mistreated; deprived of food and sleep, underpaid, if at all and I see how the elite of society sweep it under the carpet and continue to preach morality. The sheer hypocrisy of it all disgusts me.
Whilst I cannot possibly understand the issues that many workers face here on a daily basis. I can, however, attempt to raise awareness and help to rebuild some trust in humanity. There are good people out there, people who respect their staff and treat them with dignity and kindness.
Domestic workers flock to Kuwait, leaving their families behind. Arriving in a new country, often not speaking the language and are flung into total culture shock all the while trusting that the system will protect them. Sadly it often fails them and this is common knowledge here but it is simply ignored and the people charged with protecting the vulnerable don’t seem to comprehend their plight. This situation sits heavy on my heart as this is not my country I am powerless to do anything and I feel equally as saddened by my lack of ability to act.
I used these feelings of sadness when composing this piece. So it really does feel very personal. I asked my wonderful nanny, Laila, if she would pose for a portrait for me and she kindly agreed. Her face represents all the domestic workers who do not have a voice. I took several shots of her using my smart phone. (I think after experimenting a little with photography during this module I may well invest in a decent SLR camera, so I am able to explore my interest further). Nevertheless, I was able to take some relatively decent images which I then edited using Adobe Photoshop to increase the contrast and crop in order to focus on the eyes.
I split the the word ‘perspective’ over three lines over the image. The viewer is therefore required to adopt a different viewpoint in order to read the whole word. I purposefully allowed the piece to remain quite ambiguous encouraging the viewer to evaluate the meaning from their own perspective. Whilst this does not directly raise awareness of the plight of the domestic workers, it may serve to draw attention and glean empathy from someone in a position to make a difference to someone’s life.
All images by Lisa Winstanley 2016