Beauty for Freedom Artists Gather in the Fight Against Labor Trafficking By Carolyn Twersky

The art world will give back on Friday night at Beauty for Freedom’s The Project Ghana exhibition in New York to support young survivors of labor trafficking.

Beauty for Freedom, or BFF, was founded in 2014 by Monica Watkins and Jerry Chu, and is a nonprofit comprising of people from the fashion, beauty, art, and entertainment industries who’ve come together to pool knowledge and resources in the fight against human trafficking. In 2015, BFF started a creative-arts program for survivors, sending volunteer artists to Cambodia to conduct art therapy sessions with youth. Last summer, the team went to Ghana, where they painted and drew with the children, and taught them how to use a camera and the basics of digital photography.

In collaboration with global art project Inside Out, BFF worked with the children to produce portraits, which they later installed around the village. Now, BFF has brought the images back to the U.S., where artists from across the globe, including Erica Simone, Zephy, and Laura Anne Brooks, have produced collages and paintings with the childrens’ faces as focal points.

“Now, the world can see these children from a different perspective,” said Watkins. “Not just as survivors, not just as victims, but as professional artists who can own and shape their narrative.”

The artwork produced through the collaboration will be on display at The Flat in the Flatiron District on February 2. All proceeds will go to BFF and their quest to continue helping victims of labor trafficking.

 

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