I wanted to share a mixed media painting I finished a little bit ago entitled "She's 13". I created this piece for Oklahomans Against The Trafficking of Humans to help raise awareness of the growing problem of human trafficking and modern slavery. Sadly, the average age a girl is recruited into commercial sexual exploitation here in the U. S. is 12 to 13. At twelve and thirteen, I was still playing with Barbies, exploring the outdoors, and reading Laura Ingalls Wilder. What were you doing at that age?
I really enjoyed the process with this piece, and I'd like to do more mixed media paintings in the future. It took me quite a while to decide how to tackle such an awful subject, artistically, but in the end I decided to lean toward the symbolic. Here is how I described the piece:
"The trappings of a normal, happy pre-adolescent girl’s life lie torn and ruined under layers of darkness and filth. What should be a time of carefree innocence before the onslaught of normal teenage pressures and changes has instead become a nightmare of sexual exploitation and bondage. Thirteen pairs of young girls’ legs wearing women’s high heels symbolize child victims of sexual slavery being forced into adult situations far beyond their years. These girls have become disconnected body parts, bought and sold for the pleasure and profit of adults. A tarnished gold “Dearest Daughter” seal meant for a funeral spray reminds the viewer that each of these girls is someone’s daughter and serves as a metaphor for the death of their innocence and childhood. This piece aims to impress upon the viewer how very young 13 is."