youth art engagement project 2022
The Youth Art Engagement Project (YAEP) is a justice art and education program designed to work with students in grade 8-12 to discuss and raise awareness on issues relating to child/youth sexual exploitation and human trafficking. The project was piloted in 2011 and has seen impressive growth since its inception. This year, we offered our program over a
what is social justice art?
Social justice art is art with a message. The idea behind this art form is to make the audience become more aware of an issue and, ideally, react in a way that motivates them to either learn more or become mobilized in a positive effort towards the message behind the art. It is with high hopes that the Youth Art Engagement Project will inspire participants in the program to use art as a creative outlet to share their message on the issue of sexual exploitation while fostering youth leadership and youth voices.
Workshop presenters and Youth Art participants meet once a week for a 2-hour workshop session. The first hour of each session is dedicated to education and interactive learning. It is an opportunity for students to critically engage in discussion on the issue of sexual exploitation and human trafficking.
The second hour is dedicated to social justice art experimentation and creation. Workshop presenters provide ongoing mentorship and guidance to participants in completing their art project.
art gallery and showcase
Each year, we host a youth art gallery celebration where community, family and peers come together to celebrate the youth's artworks. Each artist has included an artist statement with their artwork below.
This youth art engagement project has been extremely special to us. Over the last nine weeks, we got to know the youth, build relationships with them, and witness their unique creativity come to life. Our project represents what stood out most to us for each group of youth. At Suwa’lkh School, it was amazing to witness each youth grow over the course of our program and felt that a tree best represented the tremendous progress and strength these youth exhibited. At Spectrum School, it was the youths’ free-spiritedness and uniqueness that stood out to us and what better way to reflect this than a butterfly and a rainbow. Lastly, it was amazing to see youth at CLC blossom over time just as the petals on spring flowers do. This piece combines our experiences at each of our three schools.
My art piece is about victims, showing that anyone can be a victim of sexual assault, sexual violence, etc., regardless of the stereotypes that a lot of people believe victims to be.
This art piece shows that no matter your gender, age, height, weight, body type, appearance, what you're wearing, etc., anyone can be a victim.
For this art piece, I used model magic Crayola air dry clay, acrylic paint, dollar store white gesso paint and a dollar store canvas.
Exploitation needs to stop. This painting shows how exploitation works and how to get out.
This piece represents the struggles of individuals suffering sexual violence and how their memory will live on. It is made from embroidered flowers and a Styrofoam head, acrylic paint and yarn.
This piece represents the ways in which sexual assault victims are silenced, scared and afraid to speak out, and chained down by what happened.
It is made from Acrylic paint and felt on a wood canvas.
This piece represents a woman being sold for her body, sexualized, and abused.
This piece includes a wood pedestal painted with black acrylic paint, a broken Monster High Doll, tape, and rope.
Lizzy and Ka'Liyah
Keep your hands off of women.
There are only so many days left. The girl in this drawing slowly feels like her life is wasting away.
In this art project, it shows how it can affect someone after they have been exploited using substances.
This piece represents toxic masculinity, the way that men (and myself) cannot represent how I feel because of societal standards.
I used a Styrofoam head, duct tape, and markers.
Lizzy and Ka'Liyah
Women feel trapped and harmed by men. They are kept in a box for men to look at like zoo animals. We are up for display.
My art piece is centered around sexual exploitation. I’ve written a poem about the subject, as well as a painting to go along with it.
I’m using ‘apple’ as a way of representing a person. “Apple of their eye” is a phrase meaning that you are being watched closely by that person, usually in a loving and sweet way. Most exploiters will treat you nicely and manipulate you into thinking you are loved and truly important to them. Then there is a change, small or big, Exploiters start revealing their true selves and hurt you. They take away the innocence of a youth’s life. Something young people should never have to go through. At the end of the poem, it says “and now I’ve got to grow again.” You can recover from the experience of being exploited in any way, but it is hard. It feels like you won’t be the same, and even if that’s true, you can still heal.
I hope you can take something away from my art piece. Thank you for reading.
This piece is about feeling like you can't do anything about your situation, being sexually exploited puts you in that situation, you feel like you are tied up, unable to move out of the situation, you feel like you're drowning and unable to breathe and you also feel like everyone is watching and you can't escape.
In my piece, I used a doll representing someone in the sexual exploitation situation, I used duct table to tie up the doll representing feeling tied up, I used melted crayon wax to represent the water the doll is drowning in and lastly, I drew eyes to represent "All eyes on me."
This piece is very personal to me, and my experience, and I hope you take away from this.
I chose to do an art piece about sexual assault because I too am a survivor and I thought it was about time we recognize the survivors in our lives.
There are survivors all around us. People you care about that you never knew were suffering in silence, let them know you're listening, that their stories matter, that you're there for them. It's time for you to know the survivors in your life.
My aunt once called me a victim, and it never really occurred to me till then, I'm a victim, I've been through hell, had to survive. I made it and I gotta say, it truly does get better, just hang on.
"He made me into a victim but like a phoenix rising from the ashes I became a survivor."
I was sexually assaulted as a child and one quote that helped me through everything, when things felt absolutely hopeless, this quote is from Kung Fu Panda 2:
"Your story may not have such a happy beginning but that doesn't make you who you are, it's the rest of your story, who you choose to be."
This quote showed me that life isn't always gonna be like this, it isn't always gonna feel like this, we will get through this, one day at a time.
Thank you, hopefully you enjoy my art piece.
thank you to our funders
We are so thankful to the following supporters who gave donations to ensure the success of our 2022 Youth Art Engagement Project. Special thanks goes to:
The Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Civil Forfeiture
The Province of British Columbia, BC Gaming
CKNW Kids' Fund