Of Human Bondage

Image: Untitled, 2011, Eleni Lyra

at the Anya and Andrew Shiva Gallery

John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY

860 11 Avenue New York, NY 10019

OPENING RECEPTION:

February 17, 2015 from 5:30-7:30pm

ON DISPLAY:

February 17th, 2015 through April 3rd, 2015

Curated by Dr. Thalia Vrachopoulos

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

JOHN JAY COLLEGE, CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK’S,  ANYA AND ANDREW SHIVA GALLERY proudly presents Of Human Bondage.

The title of this show is inspired by W. Somerset Maugham’s 1915 novel much of which is autobiographical and in turn, was based on Part IV of Spinoza’s Ethics. Also subtitled Strength of Emotions it is about humanity’s lack of control that can result in a type of enslavement. Perhaps the most destructive of these emotions is the drive for profit which is to a large extent responsible for people’s inhumanity to each other.

Exploitation occurs in multiple ways and in a variety of different industries, this exhibition highlights one small part of that experience, which is exploitation within the sex trade. It is a basic human rights violation that results in the commodification of humans. The victims can span all ages and gender identities orphaned, runaways, and others marginalized by poverty, documentation status, and structural inequity.

Individuals who are exploited through force, fraud and coercion in the sex industry are just one small part of the larger portrait of global inequity. Structural forces such as documentation issues, racial and ethnic barriers, discrimination against trans* and gender non-conforming individuals, and the many ways people face criminalization and poverty make individuals vulnerable to exploitative situations. Trafficking occurs when another exploits those vulnerabilities, whether through the sex trade or other industries. Even within the course of one person’s experience, they may move through multiple trafficking situations in domestic work, factory labor, hospitality, or agriculture.

The five artists in this show Steven Cavallo, Eleni Lyra, Yiannis Christakos, Angelo Gavrias and Photini Papahatzi explore their feelings on the subject of trafficking into the sex trade. Some of their works deal directly with the subject as do Cavallo’s, Gavrias’ or Papahatzi’s while others comment on the topic in a subtler more abstract way as do Christakos and Lyras. Continue reading

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