Handle with care, Tropenmuseum Amsterdam
A project about forced prostitution and female trafficking. Together with one of the victims who escaped from her oppressors I made a 100m2 carpet consisting of red female clothing titled The Mantle of love. An extra layer is added to the artwork because it is made in collaboration with a former victim of forced prostitution. During the opening a performance a new generation of young adult men were sowing red female clothing while getting instructions of a black woman. The whole act stands symbol for the hope that the new generation of young men will be considerate and careful towards vulnerable women. To handle them with care.
In order to see the video installation of fellow artist Jimini Hignett one had to cross the carpet symbolizing the fact that western society steps on these women and neglects their suffering.
The title of the work, Mulier Sacer, by Jimini Hignett means the disposable woman: a person who has so few rights left in society that the wrongs that are done to her are no longer seen as crimes.
Stories of two of the women, retold by actors, bear witness to the way the trade and exploitation of women ties in with larger economic and political processes such as economic inequality, privatisation and corruption. It is from their position on the margins of society and yet also at its heart, that these women can shed light on the wider connections that hardly receive any attention in the prostitution debate.
photography Gert Jan van Rooij