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Photographer Spencer Tunick has successfully carried out his peaceful protest “Everything She Says Means Everything,” against the defunding of Planned Parenthood, among other things — with the assistance of 100 naked women. The photo shoot took place on Sunday in Ohio, outside Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena — the day before the Republican National Convention (RNC) was scheduled to start.
The women each held a large, round mirror over the heads, faces or bodies. “This is for you and this is for our future,” Tunick told the women. “We will shine your light and power onto the RNC. We’re going to shine the light of women into this arena.”
Tunick’s wife Kristin, who does not usually travel to jobs with her husband, was also present. “I had to be at this one,” she told Esquire’s Kate Storey, who provided a detailed eyewitness account of the event. “This one is important. I felt like I had to do something, as an artist and a woman. This is the first time I’ve felt so called to action.”
Tunick reportedly began planning the work back in 2013, funding it himself because he said that no museum would touch it. In addition to being costly, it also bore an element of risk for all the participants, as protestors are restricted from getting very close to the the arena the RNC is being held in.
“Republicans, Democrats and all other political parties were welcome to take part reflecting their anger through art against the hateful repressive rhetoric of many in the Republican Party towards women and minorities,” wrote Tunick, praising the bravery of all the volunteers. “Trump and Pence are giving many in America the belief that is OK to hate.”
“I told my husband this morning, ‘I hope I don’t get killed by protesters,'” 42-year-old Darlene English told Esquire. “It was definitely a concern but I felt like this was a very important statement to make, especially with my kids. I’ve got a 7-year-old daughter, a 4-year-old boy and a 9-year-old boy and I wanted them to know that there are times when it’s important for them to stand up. I have the belief that [the GOP] is very anti-women, so I wanted to stand up and make a statement that it is unacceptable in 2016.”
“More than 1,800 women signed up to pose, and that’s a testament to how they’re brave art warriors,” Tunick told Vice. “They were willing to go into the mix of the high-pressure danger zone and get naked. It’s really unbelievable.”