Youth Art Engagement Project – Part 1/3


This week, we will be taking some time to show you the work that our workshop facilitators prepared for our Youth Art Engagement Project. Today we will be featuring art pieces from Emily and Ian.  

The following projects and artist statements are pieces that were created by each facilitator and the Program Coordinator that reflect a personal response to the sexual exploitation of children and youth throughout our communities.

Title: Untitled, by Emily H

Medium/materials used: Graphic Art, Microsoft Word


I created this graphic design piece based on the adage: “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”. In the issue of sexual exploitation, there can be a strong tendency to look the other way, say “Not in my backyard”, and refuse to acknowledge it. I changed the adage, to acknowledge it. I changed the adage, to acknowledge it. I changed the adage, using the proverb ‘WE’, because this issue is not about ‘them’, but all of us. The light purpose swirl represents the smoke or illusion that makes this issue invisible. Behind it is an image of a child with their eyes, ears, and mouth closed. It is a haunting representation of the old adage. Both the text ‘sexual exploitation, it can happen to anyone’ and ‘WE DON’T SEE’ are in the colour fuchsia. They are in stark contrast to the black/white and muted purpose tones of the rest of the piece. This shows the intensity of this ignored reality.

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Title: Sex?

Medium/Materials: Collage, Hodge Podge and Magazine on canvas

This art work depicts the holistic and visions nature of sexual exploitation. It is titled ‘Sex?’ because the main point of the art is to display that sexual exploitation has little to do with sex, but rather, with power and the control of an individual in sometimes the weakest and most vulnerable periods of their life.

The depiction of a women and children covered in  blood shows that sexual exploitation is harmful and not limited to a specific gender or age and can impact families. The depiction of Marilyn Monroe is included because she is a primary sex symbol in North American culture. Women may strive to obtain her image and what she has, but are young women doing this in healthy and age appropriate ways? Sexual exploitation is not limited to the sex trade and is essentially when a youth exchanges a sexual act for anything in return like: popularity, acceptance and belonging. These are intangible things that many youth struggle with in their day to day lives. Exploiters can take advantage of these vulnerabilities so I find it important to place an image of the North American idealized women.

Sexual exploitation is harmful and destructive to society as a while. This image cannot to real justice to the issue, but the goal is to send a message and open eyes towards the issue.

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Stay tuned for two more artist statements tomorrow! Please comment and tell us what you think of Emily and Ian’s art pieces. How do you express yourself through art?




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