18-year-old Aria Watson has highlighted the president-elect’s misogyny with her #SignedByTrump project
Donald Trump has inspired a lot of body-based art over the last year. We’ve seengrotesque nude sculptures, menstrual blood paintings, and meat-based models – all constructed in honour of the new US president-elect.
The latest example comes from an 18-year-old college student called Aria Watson. Her new photo series, titled #SignedByTrump, is arguably the most powerful Trump-themed art piece so far, highlighting the Republican’s offensive comments and flagrant misogyny. The images show unretouched close-ups of naked female bodies, with some of his most notorious quotes scrawled across their bodies.
“All I wanted from these photos was to help people realise who Donald Trump really is, and I just want to feel heard,” explained Watson. “I know most people are set on their opinions about Trump, but I just hope one person sees #SignedByTrump and it opens their eyes.”
The student, who is currently in her first year at Oregon’s Clatsop Community College, shot the photos as a final project in her photography class. After posting the series to her Tumblr page, they quickly went viral. “The election was going on at the time, and I felt very strongly about the candidates and their views, so I decided to mix my political opinions with my photography,” she said. “I knew I had to create something different.”
Watson photographed herself for the portraits, as well as four of her close friends – though the series has since been criticised for not being more diverse. “I’ve gotten tonnes of messages and comments asking me where all the women of colour are,” she said. “Don’t get me wrong, I would have loved to have some more women of colour, but I live in such a small town and attend such a small college where the majority of people are white.”
The student added that, though the election result left her “shattered”, she was still feeling hopeful. “Over the past few days, I’ve gotten messages that have brought me to tears,” Watson added. “To everyone who has supported me and #SignedByTrump, don’t let anyone silence you. Don’t be afraid to speak up about what you are passionate about.”
“I don’t know why Donald Trump is in office, or how this even happened, but he is. What we need more than ever is to come together. We are stronger together.”