x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Silent Voices II portrays hope and horror through art

An exhibit set to raise funds for victims of human trafficking opens in the capital tonight.

An artwork that will be part of the Silent Voices II exhibition. Proceeds from the show will go to Ewa'a Shelters for Women and Children. Courtesy Ewa'a
An artwork that will be part of the Silent Voices II exhibition. Proceeds from the show will go to Ewa'a Shelters for Women and Children. Courtesy Ewa'a

A series of colourful paintings – including one of a woman with butterfly wings, which the artist says depicts a woman who has escaped from her cocoon – form the basis of a charitable exhibition set to raise money for victims of human trafficking and domestic abuse.

Organised in association with the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (Admaf), Silent Voices II opens tonight at Ghaf Art Gallery in Abu Dhabi. All proceeds from the show will go towards Ewa’a Shelters for Women and Children.

For the past six months, 44 women from three Ewa’a shelters have been working with the UAE-based artist Jennifer Simon to create more than 70 works of art that tell their individual stories.

Sarah Shuhail, the executive director of Ewa’a Shelters, says the paintings “don’t just illustrate the injustice and suffering endured by women cared by Ewa’a but also their hopes and dreams of a better future”.

She adds that the whole experience gives them an opportunity to heal.

Simon says the women worked very hard for the exhibition and have created “beautiful” artworks. “Their courage and spirit has been amazing and I hope this shines through in the exhibition,” she says.

This is the second edition of the project, which began last year. All pieces are submitted anonymously.

As well as raising funds for Ewa’a, the project is also an attempt to increase awareness about the global issue of human trafficking. Hoda Al Khamis Kanoo, the founder of Admaf, says that it also reinforces her commitment to social development and humanitarian endeavours through the arts. “It is a unique exhibition that epitomises the strength and determination of every survivor,” she says. “By enabling [these women], through painting and sculpture, to express their fears, frustrations, hopes and dreams, Admaf plays a modest role in bringing back their confidence, self-esteem and, above all, dignity.”

Founded in 2008, the Ewa’a Shelters for Women and Children are located in Ras Al Khaimah, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah and have given refuge to 190 women and children. The centres offer medical, legal and psychological care to those seeking to escape the brutality of human trafficking in the UAE.


Silent Voices II is open daily from 10am to 9pm and runs until Thursday

aseaman@thenational.ae

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