School of Social Work presents ‘Artifacts of Human Trafficking’

”Free Falling” by Rhea Pettit is one of the pieces of the “Artifacts of Human Trafficking” exhibit. MJ Routh | Multimedia Journalist

By Julia Vergara | Staff Writer

Baylor’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work has brought the “Artifacts of Human Trafficking” exhibit to campus.

The exhibit, put together by Austin artist Amie Stone King, had its soft opening Monday, Feb. 12 and will be open to the public starting Thursday afternoon through March 16 at the School of Social Work, located at 811 Washington Ave.

“Artifacts of Human Trafficking” features a 3-D art installation, an “isolation room” designed by King, along with 2-D works from artists around the world.

King said the word “isolation” stuck out as one of the main themes of human trafficking. Two years ago, when she became aware of the prevalence of human sex trafficking, she felt called to create a piece that would allow the viewer to have an experience, focusing on the feeling of isolation.

“Not everyone has had a trafficking experience,” King said. “But we can all share in the emotions that being removed from others bring. After much research about human trafficking, I discovered that most victims have been so well conditioned that they are isolated wherever they go.”

King said her exhibition began with a short narrative she wrote titled Sold, which led her to work with a photographer to further explore emotions of isolation at a rock house.

“From there, I designed the isolation room and built it with the help of an engineer friend,” King said.

In order to get artwork for the walls, King said she issued an artist-call based on the words isolation, desperation and deceit.

Dr. Jon Singletary, dean of the School of Social Work, said the exhibit is powerful and overwhelming.

“People are both inspired by it, but also challenged to realize that we live in a society where women and children are treated this way,” Singletary said. “They are abused and assaulted and even, in some cases, bought and sold. And so it’s very overwhelming to see that in an art exhibit.”

Singletary said he hopes this exhibit will inspire the audience to be more comfortable talking about these kinds of issues in society, as well as inspire them to work for change.

“There is always a level of uncomfort with any taboo subject,” King said. “And although we are willing to talk about slavery, sex is not something most people are comfortable conversing about in a public setting.”

Through this exhibition, King said she wants the viewers to understand the emotional, physical and spiritual effects of being a sex slave, while inviting them to explore the topic in a safe, non-threatening environment of artworks. She also hopes to challenge them to use the information they have learned to continue the conversation.

Singletary said the public is invited to the Artist’s Reception 4 p.m. Thursday at the School of Social Work to enjoy refreshments, view the artwork and engage in conversation with King.

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