Last Friday evening, I had the privilege of attending the opening of a new art exhibit in Washington, Bought and Sold, by a longtime friend of Free the Slaves who has photographed our work around the world, Kay Chernush.
Beneath the statistics about slavery and trafficking are very human, very personal stories of individuals. Great art captures that experience.
ArtWorks for Freedom, run by Kay, helps share the slavery experience as a means of raising awareness and expanding the constituency for anti-slavery projects.
The images Kay has created are very powerful and compelling. The words accompanying each image are those of the slavery survivor whose story inspired that artwork.
Slavery is above all an effort to deprive people of their humanity, to render them without feature or voice, what Orlando Patterson called “the social death” that is the essence of slavery.
Images such as those portrayed here remind us that those enslaved are very much alive and very human. My hope is that they will help galvanize action and that more people will be moved to open their hearts and raise their voices for freedom.