Artist makes waves with anti-domestic violence campaign, depicting battered celebs

AleXsandro Palombo says his shocking campaign seeks to persuade victims of abuse to speak out, but not everyone accepts his Photoshopped images as a legitimate strategy.

December 2, 2015 18:25
1 minute read.
Kim Kardashian in #breakthesilence campaign

Kim Kardashian in #breakthesilence campaign. (photo credit: ALEXSANDRO PALOMBO)


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Artist aleXsandro Palombo recently made waves with a controversial campaign depicting some of the world's top celebrities as victims of domestic violence. The campaign was launched under the banner #BreakTheSilence “Life Can Be A Fairytale, If You Break The Silence” to mark the International Day for Elimination of Violence, on November 25th.

The stated aim of the campaign is to  persuade all victims of abuse to speak out about their situations and to raise awareness of the reality that all women can be victims of abuse, even those perceived to live "fairy-tale lives." The famous faces of Madonna, Kim Kardashian, Miley Cyrus and Angelina Jolie are among the stars selected for Photoshopping, resulting in shocking images depicting these women as victims of physical abuse.

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"The biggest accomplice of violence is the silence, a silence which every year kills or causes permanent disability more than diseases or accidents," Palombo said. "Domestic violence is a social cancer that knows no boundaries nor social status, it can affect anyone, whether you're an ordinary person or a celebrity. To defeat him you need to use the antidote of culture by educating and raising awareness on Respect and Equality. Each of us has do their part to help increase awareness and to change things by any means."

Palombo's sensationalist campaign has not been received by all as an acceptable tactic for raising awareness.  Website Women's Agenda published an article slamming the campaign and accusing Palombo of "fetishizing" domestic violence in the name of raising awareness. The article criticized the campaign for a number of reasons: for using at least one celebrity who has reportedly suffered domestic abuse in real life; for sexualizing the subject by using naked skin and full faces of makeup; and for Photoshopping images, purportedly without the consent of the images' subjects- an allegation made by various outlets.

Palombo has long-used satirical Neo Pop Art as a tool to raise awareness and reflection about important social and cultural issues. Earlier this year, Palombo released a series of caricatures showing characters from the long-running animated American television series The Simpsons at the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi camp.

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