Red Light District Art Show @ Azusa Pacific Univ.

Written by Matthew M

matthew article 2.jpgFeatured Artists: Beard of Zeus; Elle D; Jeremy Agers; Melanie Weaver;
The Red Light District Art Show took place Friday, August 13, 2010 at Duke Art Gallery and Foyer at Azusa Pacific University.

The event was produced by Artist Melanie Weaver in partnership with Worldteam: transforming societies by investing in at-risk children, youth and enslaved women. Established to advocate the issue of sex trafficking throughout the world and throughout the United States, this event provided eye opening statistics and perspectives about the prevalence of modern slavery in our global community. Some of the most hard-hitting statistics noted the high frequency of sex trafficking brothels throughout Los Angeles County alone.

The astounding statistics were accompanied by dance and musical performances followed by a call to action by artist Jeremy Agers and a breath-taking gallery preview by Melanie Weaver.

The first musical performance was Elle D. Composed of two female vocalists, Elle D elegantly conveyed the night’s emotional atmosphere: sad yet uplifting. Sex trafficking is an issue that lacks the attention it deserves, but it is a problem that can and will be overcome. Elle D provided a solid vocal set; impossible to tell that this was their first show by observing their performance. I look forward to seeing Elle D perform more shows and grow even further as vocalists.

The second musical performance was Beard of Zeus. After resolving a few initial technical problems with the PA, Beard of Zeus put on a rock-solid set. This 5-piece band from Rancho Cucamonga played 20 minutes of catchy guitar progressions, solid bass lines, quick drum beats, and pop-punk style vocals. B-O-Z’s demos immediately vanished into the hands of the audience after their performance. Definitely check these guys out as they begin playing more shows throughout San Bernardino and LA counties. Also be sure to check out Beard of Zeus on the upcoming Big Smile compilation.

The call to action by Jeremy Agers demanded self-reflection from audience members once it was exposed. The art piece consisted of a painting of 4 beaten, battered young women on a 6 by 4 foot canvas. Directly in front of the canvas was a paint roller covered in white paint noted “These are tools of change. Please feel free to change anything that may concern you.” Not one audience member decided to paint over the image of brutalized young women however. This call to action plays on the fact that although every individual has the power to change their environment for the better, most people fear independent, bold action.

The event closed with a preview of Melanie Weaver’s Red Light District Art gallery. This gallery ominously portrayed the helplessness, pain, suffering, and mutilation of young women and men suffering from modern sex-trafficking. Disfigured dolls surrounded the gallery hanging from ceiling hooks, some placed inside cages. This preview provided the most heart-wrenching perspective of modern slavery.

Overall, the night was as entertaining as it was informative. Melanie Weaver and Worldteam put on an absolutely successfully event. I hope to see similar events arise in the future as well as more artwork from Melanie Weaver.

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Who is Worldteam Foundation?
• Founders: Rick and Sue Clark- Both have been involved in Thailand for almost 25 years learning the culture, language and working with the people in life transformation. Rick has been focused on training leaders in a country-wide project the last 2 years, as CEO of TEAM International.
• Foundation: Sue started Worldteam a year ago as Director, under TEAM Intl with Rick, as a social justice response to the growing issues of prostitution, human trafficking and child sex slavery. This is a 501c3 nonprofit organization giving tax deductible receipts for donations.
• Research: Sue is currently working on her dissertation in this area of human trafficking, prostitution and sexual slavery in Thailand and sees Worldteam as the practical solution to this pandemic problem.
• Mission statement: Worldteam exists to change lives and transform societies by investing in at-risk children, youth and enslaved women. We partner with local organizations who are already implementing solutions but lack the resources to expand and save more children, youth and women.
• Why do we care?
Every 60 seconds someone in the world becomes a victim of human trafficking.
Thailand has at least 2 million prostitutes (reported, but probably more) in the land, 800,000 below age 18(your age) and 200,000 below age 12. The Thai government cannot stop this epidemic, so we must help.
Every year, hundreds of young girls are spirited away from education to brothels in Bangkok, where they feed the insatiable appetite of the $20 billion commercial sex industry
You have a voice. Be a voice for the voiceless.

Current Projects

Maesot village – Working with ELPIS school of over 400 at-risk refugee children providing schooling, dormitory and nurturing environment. Would like to add 100 more children with adequate funds. Worldteam partners with SAFE houses in Mae Sot also to provide a safe, nurturing environment and vocational training.

Nightlight – reaches out to exploited women and children in the sex trade in Bangkok, providing a safe house, vocational and life training. Wants to expand their outreach with more facilities to accommodate more women.

Task Force to create a Children’s Restoration Center in San Gabriel Valley area is our next project in the U.S. in cooperation with CRTEC (Center to Restore Trafficked and Exploited Children).

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