Editor’s Note: Stephanie Hallihan of Tillsonburg, Ont., (St. Mary’s Catholic High School, Woodstock) won third prize in the Fr. Ted Essay contest sponsored by Niagara Right to Life. The contest asked participants to reflect on a work of art and what it said about life. The essays of the first- and second-prize winners will be published in forthcoming editions of The Interim.
Pre-born life is precious to many people. However, many others forget the importance of the rights of an unborn child, considering only the life of the woman bearing the child. Martin Hudáček, an artist from Slovakia, expresses the emotional pain of a mother who chose to abort her child in his sculpture titled “Memorial for Unborn Children.” This work of art features a woman sculpted in stone, kneeling, and weeping. The woman is accompanied by a young child (made of a transparent material), who is extending her arm to the grieving woman. The child in this piece represents the aborted child of the woman. Hudáček’s sculpture speaks to the truth of pre-born life being precious, as it shares the pain that is, and always will be, present in the woman’s life. This art piece “liberates the soul, provokes the imagination, and encourages people to go further. It celebrates humanity instead of destroying it.” These are all of the components that American artist and social activist, Keith Haring deems necessary in a successful piece of artwork. “Memorial for Unborn Children” is a beautiful piece that speaks to the heart, and inspires and speaks the truth of pre-born life being precious.
To liberate means to set something/someone free. Hudáček’s sculpture is liberating to the soul as it touches the heart and frees the mind. It successfully displays Aristotle’s opinion that “the aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” Abortion could most definitely be considered the elephant in the room, as it is a topic that many people push to the back of their minds and try to avoid altogether. From the outside, abortion appears to be relieving, a weight lifted from the shoulders of a woman.
However, the viewing of “Memorial for Unborn Children” shares the inward significance that is the pain that comes alongside abortion. This art piece has a very powerful impact on the soul of a person, due to its great expression of grief and remorse. Another variation of this artist’s sculpture shows a father figure mourning along side the grieving mother and their aborted child, creating an incredibly powerful message that abortion truly hurts everyone involved, and contrary to popular belief it is not pro-woman. “Memorial for Unborn Children” shares this truth with its viewers, liberating the soul.
According to Haring, a successful art piece will provoke the imagination of its viewers. “Memorial for Unborn Children” opens eyes to the truth behind abortion. Many people forget about the great potential that a child in the womb holds. Just imagine if the greatest leaders and role models of the world had not been given the gift of life and the chance to succeed.
One of the most successful aspects of the sculpture is the choice of materials used. Hudáček used transparent material to create the child in his sculpture, representing the aborted baby. This choice shows the destroyed potential that could have been, the beauty that ceases to exist simply due to the lack of a chance. Abortion is not just the removal of a few cells. Abortion is the termination of a precious human life, the destroyer of peace. When a child is aborted, so is the potential for greatness. The transparency of the child in this piece expresses this sad truth, provoking one’s imagination. “Memorial for Unborn Children” stirs our emotions and shows the truth surrounding abortion.
St. Teresa of Calcutta once said, “Abortion kills twice. It kills the body of the baby and it kills the conscience of the mother. Abortion is profoundly anti-woman. Three quarters of its victims are women: half the babies and all the mothers.” “Memorial for Unborn Children” affects people through its expression of the emotional pain felt by a mother who has aborted her child. In 2015 alone, there were over 100,000 elective abortions in Canada, this meaning that there were about 100,000 women left to feel the grief and pain of their decision. Abortion not only defeats the chance for life of an unborn child, but also carries potential harm to the mother, both physically and emotionally. Hudáček’s sculpture displays the emotional pain of the woman, encouraging people to develop a deeper understanding of the truths of abortion. It is crucial to consider all those affected, because the decision should be the pre-born child’s choice too.
What makes an art piece triumphant is not just its visual appeal, but also the story behind it, and the passion that goes into its creation. Martin Hudáček shares his passion for the right to life in his piece that celebrates humanity, “Memorial for Unborn Children.” Even the title has a deep meaning to the preciousness of preborn human life. The sculpture celebrates the truths of abortion, and all that follows the act. Hudáček’s sculpture shares the clear emotional truth, avoiding any manipulation or controversy. “Memorial for Unborn Children” in no way shames women who have had an abortion, but rather “seeks to comfort those who mourn abortion.” No one knows what is going on behind closed doors, and this sculpture shows the emotional pain that may not always be visible to others, but is always present to the woman. It shares the truth of many women, that is, post-abortion syndrome. Hudáček’s art shares the grief and mourning of the woman, but more importantly it shares the comfort that the unborn child brings to her. The unconditional love that is displayed in “Memorial for Unborn Children” truly celebrates humanity, and demonstrates why pre-born life is so precious.
Martin Hudáček is a young artist (born in 1984) who was given the challenge to create a memorial to children that were not given the chance to live out their lives. What he created was much more than that. It was a piece that displays just how precious the life is for a preborn child. The breathtaking aspects of his sculpture give life to the cause and ultimately tells a story. His piece portrays a variety of emotions, expressing the harsh journey that follows abortion: for the unborn child, the mother, and other connected parties. Hudáček focused on blending the outward appearance and most crucially the inward significance that the topic of abortion has on society. He was able to create a breathtaking piece that speaks to the truth that pre-born life is incredibly precious. There is no question that pre-born children deserve the right to life.