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Hunger activists re-envision iconic film scenes with food

Hunger activists re-envision iconic film scenes with food
James Amerson/iReport
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - 10:10pm

When you think about the images typically associated with hunger, a recreation of the Mad Hatter's tea party from "Alice in Wonderland" might not spring to mind.

But one Florida nonprofit is using recreated scenes from popular movies, musicals and TV shows to get people talking about poverty and hunger.

The Pensacola group Appetite 4 Life provides food to children, the elderly, people with disabilities and terminally ill patients.

Looking for an edgy way to raise awareness about poverty and hunger in the local community, the group turned to CNN iReporter James Amerson, a photographer and long-time friend of many of the board members of the nonprofit.

Amerson conceptualized the community art project Appetite 4 ART, which combines food with images of iconic films, musicals and TV shows to get people talking about hunger and poverty.

Images like Marie Antoinette savagely biting into a blood-red slice of red velvet or Marilyn Monroe trying to hold down a white dress of splashing milk are meant to provoke people to question the message behind them, said Amerson, who served as creative director.

"I want the images to first seem obvious, but then get the viewer to stop and take a second, deeper look to connect the purpose behind the photos," he said.

Amerson was inspired by the global art project "Inside Out" started by Parisian photographer JR, who wanted to get people talking about social issues like poverty, hunger and homelessness through large wall postings.

With a grant from the Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival, Amerson and a small group of volunteer photographers and models were able to afford the props, food, sets and printing costs needed to create the images of lavish decadence. The shoots took several weeks to organize and produce.

They mostly chose scenes from films that already had food in them, but took creative license with the images inspired by "American Beauty," "Dexter" and "The Seven Year Itch." The collection isn't intended to portray hunger, he said, but to raise awareness about the organization's efforts.

The pictures will be displayed on the side of the Appetite 4 Life building in early April for four weeks before they travel to local galleries, starting with the Anna Lamar Center for Visual Arts at Pensacola State College.

While the images are meant to raise awareness more than money, Appetite 4 Life has received offers from people interested in buying the photos. The organization is considering making the images available to purchase, with all of the proceeds going to support the organization.

Bill Shore, founder and CEO of the national hunger nonprofit Share Our Strength, said organizations need to get creative to get people to pay attention to hunger and poverty, perennial issues.

"Data speaks to a person's mind; emotion speaks to their heart," Shore said. "Creativity is the bridge between the two. The more creative the communication, the more likely people will notice and be willing to give of themselves."

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