We are so excited! One of our primary strategic goals has been to expand the visibility of ArtWorks for Freedom in the U.S. and overseas and the past two months have exceeded our expectations!
In February, we participated in the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival in Mumbai, where our artistic director Kay Chernush joined partnering artists to help raise awareness about human trafficking, particularly how it is experienced in Mumbai. The festival, which includes art from all genres and subject areas, was a great venue for us to show the universal appeal of art that educates and empowers.
Also in February, we were honored to participate in two events raising awareness of human trafficking among policymakers and thought leaders in the United States : the Anne Frank Awards, sponsored by the Embassy of the Netherlands in the United States, and the McCain Institute Human Trafficking Symposium. Both events were held at the U.S. Library of Congress, where images from "Bought & Sold: Voices of Human Trafficking" was displayed. Kay Chernush was recognized at both events for her compelling photographs and inspiring vision. These events were meaningful opportunities to show the unique value that art brings to anti-trafficking activism.
This month, we continue to reach new audiences with our work as we launch The Golden Doors to Freedom Initiative and a new partnership with Truckers Against Trafficking. Expanding our vision through collaboration is one of our core values: we recognize that when we all work together, the worldwide fight to end human trafficking is expanded and all of our efforts are multiplied.
Thank you, as always, for being a part of our community and making a difference to end worldwide slavery! We could not do it without you.
Last month, ArtWorks for Freedom participated in the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival in Mumbai, India. Over the course of nine days, February 6 - February 14, ArtWorks’ offerings raised awareness of human trafficking through film, theater, an exhibit and participatory art.
ArtWorks founder and artistic director Kay Chernush traveled to India to take part in the festival. Her powerful photography exhibit, "Bought & Sold: Voices of Human Trafficking was installed right at the entrance, where an estimated 500,000 were able to see it. People were clearly moved by the exhibit, which is well recognized for its ability to draw audiences into the experiences and suffering of the hundreds of thousands of women, children and men caught up in the web of modern day slavery. Many festival-goers were asking, "What can we do?" and we provided them with a “Take Action” agenda. Some were even moved to volunteer right there on the spot. For example, students Sehrish Shaikh and Sana Shayk returned several times to help pass out leaflets and engage people about human trafficking in India.
ArtWorks also presented the Red Sand Project, a participatory sidewalk intervention that invites people to fill sidewalk cracks with red sand representing the invisible and marginalized people in our communities who fall between the metaphoric cracks and are exploited and enslaved for the profit of others. Created by contributing artist Molly Gochman, the Red Sand Project was facilitated at the Festival by Kranti, a nonprofit organization that empowers trafficking survivors and daughters of sex workers from Mumbai's largest red light district to become agents of social change.
ArtWorks also sponsored two film screenings - "Not My Life," by Academy Award nominee Robert Bilheimer, and "Lakshmi," by Indian director, actor and screenwriter Nagesh Kukunoor.
Lastly, our awareness campaign at the festival featured a riveting performance by the girls from Kranti, who presented their eye-opening production “Lal Batti Express” (Red-Light Express) at the National Gallery of Modern Art. After the performance, retired businessman Ashok Mathur, 65, of Cuffe Parade, told the Hindustan Times:
“I didn’t even realise that I had some level of inbuilt discrimination against these girls until the end of the play. On some level I had lower expectations from the girls because of their background, and when they said they had travelled across the world, I was surprised. The play has really shaken me out of this misguided way of thinking.”
This year the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival attracted an estimated 500,000 people. Being there supported our goal of reaching new audiences and building new partnerships. Our participation couldn't have taken place without the support of our organizing partners Vikram Arora & Shikha Uberoi, Rajender Arora for Hindi translations, and the generous financial support of Molly Gochman and AID-India (DC Metro chapter).
ArtWorks founder Kay Chernush was thrilled to meet Dr. Saryu Doshi - eminent art historian, philanthropist, founder/director of Mumbai’s National Gallery of Modern Art and member of the Kala Ghoda Association Committee.
Filmmaker Nagesh Kukunoor talks about creating a film based on this landmark case of human trafficking in India during a Q&A after the screening of Lakshmi, which he wrote, directed and produced.
Sehrish Shaikh and Sana Shayk were festival-goers turned volunteers! While viewing the "Bought & Sold" exhibit, the two volunteered to help us pass out leaflets and get the word out about human trafficking in India and globally. Thanks to these wonderful young women!
The girls from Kranti performed their own play "Lal Batti Express" (“Red-Light Express”) to a capacity audience at the National Gallery of Art in Mumbai. An emotional Q&A followed.
Artist VIKRAM ARORA acted as an organizing partner during ArtWorks' participation at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival. Vikram provided immense logistical and installation support to ArtWorks while also working on his own exhibit at the festival.
Having exhibited at the festival since 2010, Vikram's expertise helped us reach a brand new audience in Mumbai!
"The response [to ArtWorks for Freedom] was phenomenal. All kinds of people were going through our texts, as it was made available in Hindi as well. There were students who volunteered and wanted us to let them know if they could help us in the future. A lot of responses were empathising with the victims as most people are aware that such things exist but don't really know the stories behind it," Vikram shared with us.
Working with artists like Vikram make ArtWorks for Freedom's global reach possible. "Art is a great tool of expression as well as a great medium to put social causes in the spotlight. I personally use all public art opportunities I get to give out a social or political message if possible. Art should reflect or mirror the society so one is provoked to introspection. A collective thought might change the way the society deals with issues of human trafficking," Vikram said.
We are forever grateful to Vikram for his support!
Learn more about artist Vikram Arora and his new work "Food for Thought" on his Facebook page!
Sepp Leaf Products
Our donor spotlight this month goes to Sepp Leaf Products, the gilder's source for leaf, supplies, tools and materials. Sepp Leaf Products is a sponsor of our new Golden Doors to Freedom Initiative, a partnership with ArtWorks contributing artist and renowned gilder William Adair. Golden Doors to Freedom is a participatory arts project that turns abandoned doors into dramatic vehicles for communal focus on human trafficking. Donated materials from Sepp Leaf will help ArtWorks elevate awareness of human trafficking with this unique and beautiful new art presentation.
"It's a worthwhile cause. William has done many many wonderful things and we're glad to be a part of it," says Peter Sepp, owner of Sepp Leaf Productions.
We're thankful to have the support of Sepp Leaf Products! Please help us thank them by visiting their website and on Facebook.
Join our community of concerned citizens and help ArtWorks for Freedom raise worldwide consciousness of human trafficking. DONATE TODAY
News & Events From Around Our Community
LAST MONTH: ANNE FRANK AWARDS & MCCAIN INSTITUTE HUMAN TRAFFICKING SYMPOSIUM
On February 25, 2016, ArtWorks for Freedom presented images from, "Bought & Sold: Voices of Human Trafficking" by ArtWorks founder Kay Chernush during two events held at the U.S. Library of Congress.
First, the Netherlands Embassy and Consulates held its Anne Frank Awards ceremony honoring Nicholas Kristof and Cindy McCain. The "Bought & Sold" exhibit was on display while cellist and ArtWorks contributing artist Ignacio Alcover performed during the ceremony. Later that day, "Bought & Sold" was also on display at the The McCain Institute Human Trafficking Symposium featuring survivor leaders in the anti-human trafficking movement. View photos from the day on our Facebook page!
CURRENT: WORLD BANK 1-IN-3 EXHIBIT BALL STATE UNIVERSITY
January 21 - May 8
Thirty selected images from the photo exhibit “Borderless Captivity,” by Kay Chernush, are part of the World Bank 1-in-3 Exhibit at the David Owsley Museum at Ball State University from Jan 21 – May 8. The 1-in-3 Exhibit displays photographs, paintings, sculpture, and video created by international, emerging contemporary artists that directly confront gender-based violence (GBV).
UPCOMING: GOLDEN DOORS TO FREEDOM AT THE MID-AMERICA TRUCKING SHOW
MARCH 31 - APRIL 2
Kay Chernush joined TAT on the Dave Nemo Show on Sirius XM to speak about the event! We invite everyone interested in learning more about our partnership with TAT or the Golden Doors to Freedom to contact us to learn more!
A new month-long campaign at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in partnership with the 4-W (Women, Wellbeing, Wisconsin and the World) Initiative coming in April.
"Bought & Sold: Voices of Human Trafficking" will be on display at the Juno Beach Leadership Conference this spring.
Selected images from "Bought & Sold: Voices of Human Trafficking" will be on display at the aSHEville Museum in Asheville, NC, during the months of June, July and August.