Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Slavery has gone indoors....

The elegant interior of the IDASA building on Spin street was the venue for a moving multimedia launch of the Embrace Dignity campaign against Human Trafficking. Care, respect and beauty went into every aspect of this event, which included music, poetry, song and an art and video exhibition. The venue itself faces the old Slave Market; now aptly memorialised with large engraved granite blocks where before, and for many years, there was the Church Square car park.
The founder of the Campaign, Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, introduced Ruchira Gupta, the President of a sister organisation in India with 10,000 members. Where once human slaves were sold in open slave markets, they are now sold on the Internet. Slavery has indeed gone indoors; and it is a global industry involving children, pornography and sexual exploitation. In the Dakar room, you can see a wonderful artwork by Ruth Carneson which seems to both capture the resilience and the fragility of women who are trafficked for sex work - the violent rupture of intimate spaces. It echoes the photographic exhibitions of faces that one sees commemorating genocides in places where these have taken place. Lastly,...

you will be entranced by an installation by Ed Young called "Arch" - an exuberant Desmond Tutu in full regalia flying from a chandelier! Part of the permanent collection I presume. The exhibition and events will continue for the rest of the week.

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