Interior Scholarship | Blog 01/02/2017 | Mona Schaffer03.04.2017
Ellos que deberian vivir - Those who should live
At the end of the first semester in Cuba, a friend sent me a propaganda comic entitled "El que deber vivir" ("He who should live") as a leaving present. The comic illustrates a story about the USA's CIA, whose primary goal throughout the last 50 years regarding Cuba was the assassination of Fidel Castro. More than 600 murder plots are known to have been hatched.
The comic inspires me. It consists of black and white images that were subsequently filled in with extensive colouring. The shapes resulting from these areas interest me. I am cutting up the entire comic and dissecting it into individual areas of colour. I am using the individual parts to form new spaces in a two-dimensional array which I will later flesh out and define with watercolours and fineliner.
During this process, I am compelled to think about the people living here in Cuba. Again and again, I find myself coming back to the title "He who should live". I think about the people I have met and with whom I coexist on a daily basis. People who have been oppressed and dominated by the political system. On some days, I witness resignation. Either one setback too many, a lack of working materials or the realisation of potentially never being able to see any other country. Moments that rob my friends and fellow students of the strength and desire to get back up and start over again.
As a result, I often observe that things are not tried at all due to the fact that they may not work. I think about the many people that cannot make their dreams come true in Cuba, either because they fear what is new and unknown, they fear that something may not work, or simply because they just don't have the chance. And I think about myself, and the many opportunities that I haven't taken advantage of.
I have given my work the title of "Those who should live". My spaces become stories of people who let things be. The reasons and things which cannot be experienced in the moment are numerous and can be freely interpreted by any observer.
After finishing my drawings, I get a nagging feeling that I've missed something. For three months, I have been drawing spaces that have their roots in feelings and stories. The two-dimensional work helped me to think more flexibly about old spatial patterns as well as preferred shapes and colours. The collage, which makes use of prefabricated parts, was useful in helping me to break out of old patterns. Watercolouring gives me free reign over colour.
This time, I am going one step further. I am cutting up the completed collages and then creating three-dimensional spaces with them. The results are spatial objects that can exist without any additional purpose. It is an attempt to break away from old patterns and create new spaces that are bold in shape and colour. I will continue to work towards this goal.
About Mona Schaffer
Mona Schaffer initially studied media and communication studies for two semesters to learn more about visual and audio-visual communication. She then transferred to the Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design and began her interior design studies. In the 2016/2017 winter semester, Mona studied scenography at ISA (universidad de las artes) in Cuba. In order to allow her to completely focus on her studies, Mona will receive the "Interior Scholarship" – the Sto Foundation's AIT scholarship. In the 2016/17 academic year, it is being awarded to four interior design students who stood out through their pronounced attitude and creative way of thinking. The scholarship comes at the perfect time for Mona Schaffer and it will pay for part of her stay abroad.