As part of a growing global project called Design Against Trafficking, North Dakota is joining cities such as Minneapolis, Los Angeles and Cebu City, Philippines, in the initiative titled “When Places Speak” to exhibit hyperlocal spaces. through photography.
âSeven or eight years ago, it was the first time that I realized that sex trafficking was actually happening where I lived. I always thought it was happening elsewhere, âexplains Tasoulla Hadjiyanni, founder of Design Against Trafficking.
The interior design professor at the University of Minnesota was inspired to explore how design can be used to combat trafficking and raise awareness about the subject.
âIt allows people to envision and immerse themselves in thinking about what it means to be a victim of trafficking,â she says.
Tasoulla Hadjiyanni developed the global Design Against Trafficking project to raise awareness about sex trafficking through photography. Special at the Forum
It can be as ominous as an empty street on a pitch black night or as simple as an open door in the entrance to a nestled building – photos are meant to open at the door for people to imagine these things being. produce in their own towns and cities.
âWe have a huge demand for sex in our state. We also have a huge demand for labor, âsays Melissa Kaiser, who works with the North Dakota Human Trafficking Task Force to help victims of trafficking and educate the public.
Over the past three years, the group has helped more than 381 victims of sex trafficking, including 89 children, according to the exhibit.
Inside the NDSU gallery, visitors to the âWhen Places Speakâ exhibit walk through an architectural wooden portal at the entrance and see images that represent high-risk places for girls and young women. from the community.
“Some of these images don’t relate to specific places – they speak of the idea of ââthe communities that come together in those spaces,” says Anthony Faris, gallery coordinator and curator of collections at NDSU.
“When Places Speak” places viewers in the driver’s seat as they navigate the roads that lead to human trafficking and the deeply rooted issues that exist in people’s lives while exploring the design of spaces where these communities come together. NDSU Memorial Union Gallery / Special at the Forum
Information panels veiled in white fabrics invite viewers to interact more with the photographs, asking questions about how design can address situations that can lead to exploitation of vulnerable populations.
The exhibit also features quotes from a 2019 report by North Dakota Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Commission, offering a heart-wrenching tale of a woman’s life in the nefarious industry.
Growing up on the Turtle Mountain Reservation, the anonymous subject’s life changed forever when, at the age of 6, she was sexually assaulted and sold to other men by her father and grandfather. After her journey through unthinkable circumstances until her escape from the trade, the tale hits home as viewers take the photos as well.
âPhotographs are documents, aren’t they, they are a document of a space. But when they all come together you start to build relationships, which I think happens with art, âsays Faris.
Human trafficking, the subject of a new exhibit at North Dakota State University, involves promotion, recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, inducement, provision, l ‘obtaining or receiving a person by any means whatsoever to force a person to engage in sexual acts or forced labor services. NDSU Memorial Union Gallery / Special at the Forum
The ties that brought “When Places Speak” to the region date back two years, when interior design professor Hadjyanni gave the keynote address at NDSU Design Week in 2019.
Since then, Hadjyanni has worked with Faris and NDSU Interior Design Program Director Susan Ray-Degges to bring the project to the region.
âWe can’t solve everything with design solutions, but we can start looking at (spaces) in a different way and start educating the public as well as the design profession in our community,â says Ray-Degges.
âWhen Places Speakâ was funded by a grant from the Alex Stern Family Foundation.
If you or someone you know is a victim of sex or labor trafficking, contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888, or locate your regional browser in trafficking in human beings by visiting ndhttf.org. Call 911 in an emergency.
What: “When places speak”
Or: North Dakota State University Memorial Union Gallery, 1401 Administration Ave., Fargo
When: exhibited until February 25 (open weekdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.); a gallery reception will be held at 5 p.m. on February 24
Visit “When Places Speak” at the Memorial Union Gallery at North Dakota State University weekdays 9 am to 5 pm. NDSU Memorial Union Gallery / Special for the forum
This article is part of a content partnership with The Arts Partnership, a non-profit organization that cultivates the arts in Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo. For more information, visit http://theartspartnership.net.