“What’s Your Gold?” is an exhibition and art therapy project with girls rescued from sex trafficking, telling the story of their healing journey and as a fundraising to support their university education after leaving the safe house where they live while their perpetators are being prosecuted ($13k raised at the time of the exhibition). It focus on future narratives towards their goals and what they want to become, using the Japanese craft of kintsugi (the fixing of broken objects with gold in order to attribute them more value) as a metaphor for the process of healing.
This project is an exploration of the girls’ dreams and the way we, as a society, represent their journey of surviving and thriving. It consists on a series of artworks made by Hiratsuka Niki and Miguel Jeronimo, portraits created by the girls themselves and the ceramics that emerged from the art therapy sessions.
The Dream Masks
Whenever survivors are presented in the media, due to safety concerns, their faces are blurred or pixelised. Although being necessary, this uniform method of hiding their faces de-characterises each individual and limits him/her to an image of being “another victim”. Here, we aim to give them privacy in an empowering way, using portrait photography and painting/collages to hide their faces on the pictures by being customised by the subject according to future-based imagery: their dreams, the role they aspire to have in society, who they want to become. Their own creativity and uniqueness replaces the uniform and bland face blurring, giving them a voice in a society still not ready for them to freely show their face. In the exhibition, visitors will be able to connect with their stories in an unique way, discovering the empowering selves they want to become.
Some of the questions during the journaling process
Pictures from the art therapy sessions
The exhibition opening