We live in a time of radical fast-moving shifts in politics, economics, industry, technology, belief systems, and cultures. Societal ills such as slavery, war, racism persist and constantly take different forms. Each of these challenges are identified, analyzed and reconciled within their respective disciplines but there is an emerging parallel thinking in art that attempts a similar investigation. To see artists take such a stance enacts the role and place of art and artists in their communities. It is also a means through which they may question and contest society’s traditional beliefs, assumptions, and actions. Art has always had the power to re-direct the public- to make them look at themselves and their ideologies critically.
In this year’s Arts to End Slavery exhibition, the artists tackle the conditions that lead to human trafficking and the power relations involved. Using media ranging from painting, photography, printmaking, drawing, video, digital art, and sculpture, they build upon the previous exhibition, Telling their Stories, which presented the observations, experiences and ambitions of the victims of human trafficking. The work presented makes an address to the play of power, policy, capital, colonization and civil unrest in human trafficking. Reflecting on how individuals relate and the cases that form in complex layers commodification, exploitation, confinement and dislocation of individuals. While others reference actual experiences that calls for the memorialization of these experiences, others put in individual effort to send hope and reach out to victims of human trafficking.
This exhibition is a multilayered questioning of collective human behavior and an appeal for a more egalitarian society with visible means of intervention, mitigation, and reconciliation.
The exhibition will run at the Kobo Trust till 14th July 2017.
Artists: Paul Otieno Abwao, Rehema Baya, Lia Beharne, Samuel Githui, Immaculate Juma, Abdul Kipruto, Leevans Linyerera, Cephas Mutua, Lincoln Mwangi, Peteros Ndunde, Naitiemu Nyanjom, Brian Omolo, Joan Otieno, Nicole Riziki, Lemek Tompoika and Gemini Vaghela