ArtServe to Unveil Human Trafficking Prevention-Themed Art Installation At Educational Workshop August 4, 2022

Massive interactive “Stories” artwork lets viewers participate in its message

    FORT LAUDERDALE,  FL — A happenstance encounter years ago with a tossed-aside newspaper became both a learning experience and a metaphor for South Florida-based artist Rhona Rubio, whose massive interactive installation will provide both the focal point and the impetus for a free workshop on how to stop human trafficking from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, August 4 at ArtServe, 1350 E. Sunrise Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale.

“Seeing an article about human trafficking in the newspaper that day was the first time I had ever heard about the issue,” Rubio said.  Nearly a decade later, she couldn’t stop thinking about those who were suffering and decided to volunteer with an international nonprofit dedicated to helping women at risk. But she knew she needed to do more.

Inspired by her artwork, ArtServe’s August 4 free workshop is a collaboration between ArtServe and A21, one of the largest organizations in the world fighting human trafficking. During the workshop educators and families will learn how to create Child Trafficking-Free Zones in schools and communities. Ancillary children’s activities will be provided during the two-hour presentation.

Entitled “Stories,” Rubio’s creation, a dark, sprawling interlaced, intricate network of twisted metal and human faces painted on various textured recycled fabrics stretched tight across vise-like frames, will be unveiled during the workshop and enable viewers to actually participate by bringing their own piece of cloth to fasten onto pre-made links encircling the structure.

“I wanted to create a way that people could relate to the fact that we all have our own personal stories of suffering,” Rubio said. “By attaching their own symbolic piece of cloth to the artwork, their story can become one with those of human trafficking victims, giving us all a way to open up and listen to one another.  Our stories of pain and silence have the power to connect us.”

“Stories” will be displayed at ArtServe in conjunction with the award-winning non-profit’s current “Memories and Revolutions” exhibition that runs through September 23.

“Hidden in plain sight, human trafficking tears at the social fabric of nations, economies and, on the granular level, in schools and other parts of our community,” ArtServe curator Sophie Bonet explained in reference to the artwork’s use of fabric.

The installation also will include a jumble of shoes on the floor to represent the “unseen” victims of human trafficking, along with a “freedom box” filled with seeds representing the “seeds of injustice” into which guests will be encouraged to step into to experience their “power to sprout and grow into a source of justice for future generations.”

“Indeed, the fabrics used in ‘Stories’ show that, like human trafficking victims, there are things in life hidden in the trash that can be recycled and used for something better,” Rubio added, explaining that the fabrics she used to create “Stories” were culled from thrift stores.

About the Workshop

Building on Rubio’s artistic mission to stop the social injustice of modern slavery, ArtServe’s August 4 workshop event will feature national speakers Tanya Goodwin from the Tim Tebow Foundation and A21’s Education Curriculum Specialist Valerie Ellery, a veteran educator and best-selling author.

Together, they will present A21’s K-12 educational curriculum on human trafficking prevention designed to protect children and offer ways to help educate others.  Among the topics to be discussed include:

What is human trafficking?

How does human trafficking affect Florida?

What are the resources available to support prevention and awareness in schools?

What actions can be taken to help abolish this injustice?

ArtServe inspires, supports and advances its diverse members, artists and community by promoting artistic development, education and prosperity through the exploration and presentation of the visual and performing arts.  For more information, visit  Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.

About Carma Henry 20175 Articles
Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.