Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport is partnering with the nonprofit ArtWorks for Freedom to host two powerful art exhibits that raise awareness of the hidden world of human trafficking. The exhibits are designed to educate and engage the public and the air transportation industry to help combat human trafficking. Some studies estimate that human trafficking/forced labor is a $150 billion annual industry.
“For many years, we have worked with artists to present diverse, high-quality exhibits that inspire and inform our travelers,” said Ricky Smith, Executive Director of BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport. “This partnership with ArtWorks for Freedom continues our commitment to provide a positive travel experience for our passengers.”
One of the exhibits, “What You See Is Not Who I Am,” is on display at BWI Marshall’s D/E International Art Gallery, adjacent to the airport’s D/E security checkpoint. This striking, multi-part mural series was created in partnership with Groundswell Community Murals of Brooklyn, N.Y. Through its Teen Empowerment Mural Apprentice program, 20 aspiring teenaged artists worked collaboratively to research, design and create the 12-panel installation that addresses sex trafficking, forced labor and agricultural exploitation.
“This mural is power. It's a voice for those victims whose voices will never be heard,” said Maybelline Amaya, one of the participating young artists.
The other exhibit, “Bought & Sold: Voices of Human Trafficking,” by ArtWorks founder and director Kay Chernush, is located in the Orientation Lobby of the airport’s Hourly Garage, near Skywalk B. Large-scale photographic images speak to the experiences and suffering of the hundreds of thousands of men, women and children caught up in human trafficking. More than 15 photographs are coupled with inspirational survivor narratives from across the globe. The “Bought & Sold” exhibit has been previously presented on three continents and in cities throughout the United States.
Artworks for Freedom is a nonprofit using the power of artistic creativity to raise awareness of human trafficking and modern-day slavery. Working locally and globally, ArtWorks seeks to illuminate the breadth, complexity and persistence of human trafficking and inspire global action at all levels of society. The organization fulfills its mission by mounting awareness campaigns in cities across the globe in collaboration with artists and arts organizations, civic associations, businesses, NGOs, faith-based organizations, foundations, educational institutions and local community leaders.
BWI Marshall Airport recognizes the valuable role that art and architectural enhancements play in the travel experience. The airport features a number of permanent and rotating exhibitions. High-quality sculptures, art glass installations, paintings, photographs, and other enhancements are installed throughout BWI Marshall facilities.
“As the busiest airport in the region, BWI Marshall is a tremendous platform to reach and engage travelers every day,” said Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary Greg Slater. “The airport has a tradition of providing opportunities for local, regional and international artists, and these exhibits with ArtWorks for Freedom represent an important element of that mission.”
Travelers to BWI Marshall are reminded the airport terminal remains open only to ticketed passengers and employees, and that face coverings or masks are required in the terminal. For additional information on health and safety protocols in place at BWI Marshall and the airport’s continued COVID-19 recovery, go to https://www.BWIairport.com/COVID19.