On Sunday, the day before the Republican National Convention (RNC) began, 100 naked women held up mirrors to the RNC-hosting Quicken Loans Arena in downtown Cleveland as a political statement against the anti-women rhetoric of the Republican party.
The staged protest artwork by the artist Spencer Tunick, titled "Everything She Says Means Everything," was meant to "express the belief that we will rely upon the strength, intuition and wisdom of progressive and enlightened women to find our place in nature and to regain the balance within it," Tunick wrote. "The mirrors communicate that we are a reflection of ourselves, each other, and of, the world that surrounds us. The woman becomes the future and the future becomes the woman."
Tunick, whose work often relies on large-scale human installations, has been planning this particular piece for three years. VICE reports: "Although [Tunick] says that the work was pegged to the defunding of Planned Parenthood, among other things, and that he 'assumed anyone who ran would be a nut job,' he adds that his work has taken on more meaning given how the race has panned out."
One women who participated explained why she did in a statement:
As a woman, I want to stand up for my reproductive rights. As a Hispanic, I want to be seen as a member of this community. As a first-generation American, I want to show that anyone deserves the opportunity to come here. As a young woman, I want to embrace my body and everyone else’s size and shape. As a human being, I want to stand up against Trump and other Republicans whose hateful speech towards women, immigrants, LGBT people, and all "others" is poisoning this nation.
The Huffington Post spoke to a Republican voter who participated in protest of Trump's candidacy:
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Cleveland-based participant Jennifer Dienes traditionally votes Republican, but was disgusted with the bigotry and hostility Trump ushered into the party's ethos. She originally supported Rand Paul, but now is leaning Libertarian. "I don't support the Republican party with Trump at the forefront," she explained to the Huffington Post.
Dienes had never participated in a nude photo shoot before, or anything similar. "There were a few people trying to scare me out of it," she said. "A lot of people were saying, 'My mom is going to kill me!' But it was presented in a classy, peaceful way. Sometimes you just have to stand up for what’s right. I'm proud of what I did."
Another Republican voter who participated told Esquire that "Donald Trump has said so many outrageous, hateful, inflammatory things."
A student who took part told the magazine that her participation was "less about Trump and more about creating positive energy around the RNC and to create light where there maybe isn't as much."
Just before Tunick was ready to take the photo, Esquire reported, the artist told the gathering of women: "The Republican party has given an excuse to hate. We have daughters and we want them to grow up in a society where they have equal rights for women. The sun is coming up. Now, when I say three, let's get naked!"
Watch a short documentary about the photo shoot and protest here: