Exhibitions

Artwork: "The Grief in my Life"Cambodia

Turning the Tides 2007

 

This is a series of images from the 2007 exhibition “Turning the Tides” created by a participant at an art therapy workshop. The series of images and narratives tell her story as a trafficked survivor.

 

This survivor came from a good home. However, she had a boyfriend whom her father did not like, and he expressed his anger by rejecting him. She did not like her father's treatment of her boyfriend, and angrily ran away to Phnom Penh. In Phnom Penh, she met a woman who promised that she could get her a job, but sold her to a brothel instead.

 

While working at the brothel, she asked one of her clients to help her escape. He agreed and brought her to the police. The police, in turn, brought her to the center in AFESIP, where she has since been studying sewing.

 

Artwork

 

Image 1 - This is a drawing of her situation before she was trafficked. The woman in the drawing is her, and in each green box are the circumstances at home that led her to being trafficked. The image is quite calm and peaceful, compared to the rest of the painting.

 

Artwork

 

Image 2 - This is a drawing expressing her father scolding and blaming her. She feels very angry and upset by her father's words. Her father does not like her boyfriend and she is hurt by her father's words. Notice that she is crying in the picture.

 

Artwork

 

Image 3 - She decides to run away from home. This is an image of her crying because she is sad and confused by her decision to run away. On her left is her packed suitcase. She runs away to Phnom Penh.

 

Artwork

 

Image 4 - This picture and series of drawings express her experience in the brothel and how she was trafficked. The black cloud that hangs overhead is a symbol of her sadness, grief and confusion that she faced in this time of her life. She is crying red tears and the expression on her face is one of anger, hurt, and pain.

 

Artwork

 

Image 5 - This is a drawing of her running away to Phnom Penh and meeting the woman who sold her into the brothel. At that time, she felt very vulnerable and confused about where to go, or what to do, and she met a woman who promised that she could help find her a job. This woman lied to her and sold her to the brothel.

 

Artwork

 

Image 6 - She is on the bed in the picture, serving the man who is standing by the door. She looks extremely vulnerable and small. This is a picture of her having to serve her first customer and having her virginity sold off.

 

Artwork

 

Image 7 - This is a picture of her being tortured and abused by the brothel owner. The woman on the left is her, and the man on the right is the owner. When she would refuse to have sex with the clients, her boss would force her to have sex through physical abuse. The colour that she has used in this picture is red, which is different from the other drawings. She uses red to represent her pain. She is kneeling down in front of the man, and her eyes are black from crying. This drawing has a sense of immense pain, sadness and shame.

 

 

Artwork

 

Image 8 - This mandala is a collective representation of her experiences working as a sex worker. The figures are black in color, and there is a sense of drowning and franticness in this image. She has drawn a symbol of a lotus flower drowning in the water. The image on the right is of her trying to hang herself, with a dark cloud hanging overhead.

 

Artwork

 

Image 9 - This is a representation of her after being rescued. The expression on her face is much clearer and happier. She looks hopeful and is looking forward into her future. She was rescued by a client of hers. She begged him to help her leave the brothel and he agreed to assist her. He brought her to the police, and the police took her to the trafficking shelter.

 

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Image 10 - This is her dream of being a successful tailor and starting up her own shop. She hopes to make a living by creating beautiful dresses.

 

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Image 11 - This drawing represents her present experience at the rescue center. She is surrounded by friends and is happy living in the center. She writes: "Here, there is no discrimination. I have a good teacher who teaches me sewing and there are good rules that ensure my safety. I am looking forward to a good future."

 

Artwork

 

Image 12 - This picture is a symbol of her hopes and dreams and where she would like to be in the future. The painting feels very optimistic and bright, and there is a sense of strength and hope. Although she has been through a lot of pain and difficulties in the past, she wants to create a new future for herself, a future that speaks of hope and optimism.