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Artistic Activism: Tuna Bora’s Planned Parenthood Fundraiser

Planned Parenthood needs our help. They provide invaluable services for the sexually active and are necessary for both men and women but people want to shut them down. If you don’t stand with Planned Parenthood, you’re probably standing in the 1950s with your antiquated views on reproductive health and women’s rights.

Los Angeles illustrator and artist Tuna Bora wants you to get as many people as she possibly can involved in the P.P. cause by launching an auction of illustrations to benefit the organization. Starting at 10AM on November 11 with prices starting at $25, you’ll be able to get one of thirty two drawings she made in October. With 100% of the proceeds going to the organization, her effort is a solid step toward keeping Planned Parenthood around. She’s basically carrying the torch handed to her by Elizabeth Warren into the future.

To get into the thought process of creation and to learn about what motivated the project, I had a quick chat with Bora to learn about the project.

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Planned Parenthood—and all that they stand for—has been huge in the news this year. How did you get interested and involved in their work?

I’ve known Planned Parenthood as a health organization that provides service around the world prior to the politically charged scandals that took place earlier this year. As an international student when my school didn’t provide me with a proper healthcare option, I used them to get my regular check ups and screenings, as I had no income at the time. In the waiting rooms, I’ve met women who struggled through serious health issues, young and broke parents getting care for their highly anticipated pregnancies, and many other people like me who just wanted to stay healthy. Seeing how most of us would have to forgo basic care otherwise made me appreciate how much they do for everyone. Seeing all this important work reduced to a campaign smear has been very upsetting to me, and this is why I wanted to get involved.

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The artwork for auction are various depictions of women. How do you see your work overlapping and relating to Planned Parenthood’s mission?

It’s ironic that while as a society we’re okay with “loving women’s bodies,” we are robbing the same women from the chance to take care of themselves. Sadly women’s bodies are seen as public property, and the conversation usually evolves around this strange sense of entitlement. I usually don’t sell these drawings but decided that the only way I was comfortable doing so was to work towards balancing out this problem a bit.

Do you feel it’s important for artists to take a stand on political issues? Does tying art to political subjects make a cause easier to get behind?

I think it’s important that people take a stance on political issues. I truly believe we opt out not because we wouldn’t like things to be different, but because we feel powerless. It made sense to me to use what I’m good at towards what I want to empower. Donations are great, but so is getting people inspired.

Obviously you likely won’t be able to request how the proceeds from the fundraiser are used at Planned Parenthood. But, if you could, how are you hoping the organization uses the donation?

I’m perfectly content with them taking this donation the way they take all of them. I don’t think donations are about ourselves.

Touché. Well said.

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Is there anything people participating in the auction should know about the works, anything that might not be known from looking at the works?

This idea came out as a reaction to what I was witnessing in the world, obviously to gain some financial support for the cause. But I wanted to use art to show that there are different ways to support things we believe in, that it’s not this “this money is mine or yours” type of equation. My hope is that it might help someone else out there realize there are other things in their power, and in their power alone that they could do to speak up. We feel that we can’t make a change, that the world has too many issues and we are just a spec in a huge universe. And we are. But our every day decisions, our efforts, and awareness moves mountains when given the chance, so we gotta start moving somewhere.

To learn more about Tuna’s auction benefitting Planned Parenthood, check out the website for the project. You can see more of Tuna’s work on her website and on her Instagram.

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