Susan E. Wagner High School students' anti-rape art
Artist: Andrea Gonzalez and Meghan Callahan-Scarcella
Date of Action: August 2021
Region: North America
Location: Susan E. Wagner High School, Staten Island, NY
Confronting Bodies: Susan E. Wagner High School
Description of Artwork: For a student exhibition in the lobby of Susan E. Wagner High School in Staten Island, Meghan Callahan-Scarcella and Andrea Gonzalez, classmates and best friends, collaborated on a photo-collage project to address sexual consent and rape culture. Callahan-Scarcella shot a photograph of the bare back of Gonzalez, and they superimposed texts such as "No Means No," "You Don't Own Me," "My Body, My Rules," and so on.
The Incident: The photo-collage was removed from the exhibition due to its depiction of Gonzalez's bare back. Students and parents alike were outraged by the artwork's removal. (May 11): NCAC sent a letter of protest to the school's principal.
Results of Incident: To protest the censorship, students circulated a petition at school, and then an online petition was created. At first, the administration justified removal of the work with the bizarre claim that it was a violation of the school's dress code. Later, in a meeting with Student Government, Principal Giordano explained that the age of the model in the photograph (Gonzalez is 15) was his reason for removing it, despite the fact the image is patently non-obscene and non-pornographic. Callahan-Scarcella and Gonzalez later agreed to re-shoot the photograph with Gonzalez wearing a t-shirt, using the same messages. The revised work was returned to the exhibition.