From Fujian Province to Morecambe Bay...
125cm x 125cm
In the autumn of 2010 I was approached by the New York chief of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Simone Monasebian, who suggested to me that through my art work I could help raise awareness of current issues at the United Nations and inspire others to take action – the key issues being human trafficking, prison conditions, violence against women, drug abuse, terrorism and corruption.
My first artwork for the United Nations was presented at the Human Trafficking conference in Luxor, Egypt, December 2010 and was the focal point for my speech about Human Trafficking on the final day of the conference. The conference hosted by the now departed first Lady Mrs Mubarak brought together movie stars, heads of state and billionaires. Over three days of intense debate the world’s most influential hammered out standards for the eradication of slavery and human suffering.
The art work I presented was entitled ‘From Fujian Province to Morecambe Bay…’ . The art work was made in response to a story that made headline news in the UK in 2004 when 23 Chinese workers harvesting cockles drowned against a rising tide on the shores of Morecambe Bay. Within days, the incident had escalated into a nationwide scandal involving criminal gang masters and the exploitation of illegal workers in Britain today.
The artwork was made in the form of a coin as the workers’ lives had been reduced to a commodity – the 240,000 Yuan shown on the front of the coin being the bonded debt owed by each worker to their snakehead gang masters. The coin shows an imagined face of one of the cockle pickers as if looking through a pool of water. The female victims were identified by their jewelry and so I constructed the image out of necklaces and bracelets, in fact all kinds of chains – the age old metaphor for slavery.
From Fujian Province to Morecambe Bay... detail
Interview for CNN Interview
This is an interview I did with Jim Clancy at CNN International during the United Nations conference in Luxor, Egypt.
A portrait of Frederick Douglass, one of the most eminent human-rights leaders of the 19th century. His oratorical and literary brilliance thrust him into the forefront of the U.S. abolition movement, and he became the first black citizen to hold high rank in the U.S. government.
Commissioned by Simone Monasabien, New York chief of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
Medium: Pearl buttons on canvas
140cm x 170cm