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Arista, Identity 2016.jpg

Overcoming the Demons

In 2016, Joel Artista, several Bengali artists and a group of local teenagers collaborated with the Meridian International Center, the US Consulate and NGO Banglanatak.com to create a mural that highlights the issues facing young people in Kolkata. The young people involved in the project had faced several difficult situations in life, including homelessness, human trafficking, poverty and addiction, but were working to overcome their pasts and were specially selected for this project because of their passion for visual art. The piece is on the large outer wall of the Birla Academy of Art and Culture, a hub of ancient and contemporary Bengali visual art. The project began with a mural workshop from Artista and, after some discussion, the group came up with images that they felt represented a journey from a dark past to a future full of hope.In one section, the young artists painted the personification of the demons in their lives and communities, portrayed as a giant fiend terrorising a city. In the next section, each student painted representations of that which gives them peace, strength and support to fight these demons: positive relationships with family and friends, activities such as art and music, religious faith and education. At the closing ceremony for the mural project, dozens gathered around to celebrate the artwork and its message.Joel Artista (Joel Bergner) has completed several murals against human trafficking and modern slavery. He is an artist, educator and activist who is celebrated for his antislavery artwork and murals. Artista's art is heavily influenced by his work with communities and non-profit organisations, and in 2015 he joined forces with Max Frieder to form Artolution. This community-based arts initiative empowers artists, youth and communities to be agents of positive social change and explore critical societal issues and create opportunities for constructive dialogue.

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Stop Child Marriage

This mural protests against early and forced marriage of children. It shows a girl with a covered head looking off into the distance looking somewhat daunted by what lies ahead. The fire at the base of the mural shows this is a dangerous situation for her to be in. The exact location and the date for the mural are unknown.

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#MissingGirl (group)

The organisation MISSING was founded by Leena Kerjriwal and started as a public art project after years of working with NGOs such as Apne Aap, Hamari Muskan and New Light. As an artist, Kejriwal fought against human trafficking by creating installations in galleries that brought up the realities of sex trafficking. She felt that the world needed a new approach to tackling human trafficking and introduced MISSING as a four-part Art As Activism movement through her #MissingGirl stencil campaign.The stencil campaign aimed to raise awareness of human trafficking in local communities and educate people on the issue, as well as helping people thinking about how they can stop modern slavery. Over two years, the campaign has spread beyond India to include six countries and 18 cities, with 2,500 stencils and over 42 million impressions made on people. The campaign continues today and you can find out more here. In 2017 the MISSING Stencil Campaign spread to the walls of the German Consulate in Kolkata. The single silhouette of the missing girl, which can be seen on the right, has been multiplied and as the girls increase, they fade into the background and are lost forever. The German Consulate Mural Project is an initiative of the Missing Collective, a group of artists that create art around the MISSING campaign. Jurgen Thomas Schrod, German's deputy consul-general, said that he thought the mural was a fantastic idea and crucial to highlight the fact that child trafficking occurs all around the world, not just in India.

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Ajay

This mural is one of six created by Delhi Street Art in collaboration with the Jan Sahas Foundation, which works to promote and protect the rights of socially excluded communities. The were completed amid the launch campaign of the Foundation in October 2017. The 70 foot metal facade that covered the B. R. Ambedkar Building whilst it was under construction was turned into a canvas by 10 artists from DSA. These murals highlighted the plight of abducted children, who are exploited and abused. They juxtaposed their past with their present, exposing how children are vulnerable to traffickers. The artists explained that the children in these murals are metaphors for the thousands of children who are in slavery today. This mural tells the story of 'Ajay', who was forced to beg for money until he was rescued by a NGO.

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Mantu

This mural is one of six created by Delhi Street Art in collaboration with the Jan Sahas Foundation, which works to promote and protect the rights of socially excluded communities. The were completed amid the launch campaign of the Foundation in October 2017. The 70 foot metal facade that covered the B. R. Ambedkar Building whilst it was under construction was turned into a canvas by 10 artists from DSA. These murals highlighted the plight of abducted children, who are exploited and abused. They juxtaposed their past with their present, exposing how children are vulnerable to traffickers. The artists explained that the children in these murals are metaphors for the thousands of children who are in slavery today. This mural tells the story of 'Mantu', who was forced into sex work until she was rescued by an NGO.

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Pappu

This mural is one of six created by Delhi Street Art in collaboration with the Jan Sahas Foundation, which works to promote and protect the rights of socially excluded communities. The were completed amid the launch campaign of the Foundation in October 2017. The 70 foot metal facade that covered the B. R. Ambedkar Building whilst it was under construction was turned into a canvas by 10 artists from DSA. These murals highlighted the plight of abducted children, who are exploited and abused. They juxtaposed their past with their present, exposing how children are vulnerable to traffickers. The artists explained that the children in these murals are metaphors for the thousands of children who are in slavery today. This mural tells the story of 'Pappu', who was subjected to forced labour and is building a new life for himself after his adoption.

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Aditi

This mural is one of six created by Delhi Street Art in collaboration with the Jan Sahas Foundation, which works to promote and protect the rights of socially excluded communities. The were completed amid the launch campaign of the Foundation in October 2017. The 70 foot metal facade that covered the B. R. Ambedkar Building whilst it was under construction was turned into a canvas by 10 artists from DSA. These murals highlighted the plight of abducted children, who are exploited and abused. They juxtaposed their past with their present, exposing how children are vulnerable to traffickers. The artists explained that the children in these murals are metaphors for the thousands of children who are in slavery today. This mural tells the story of 'Aditi', who lost her childhood when she was sex trafficked but is making a new life for herself in school.

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Kanta

This mural is one of six created by Delhi Street Art in collaboration with the Jan Sahas Foundation, which works to promote and protect the rights of socially excluded communities. The were completed amid the launch campaign of the Foundation in October 2017. The 70 foot metal facade that covered the B. R. Ambedkar Building whilst it was under construction was turned into a canvas by 10 artists from DSA. These murals highlighted the plight of abducted children, who are exploited and abused. They juxtaposed their past with their present, exposing how children are vulnerable to traffickers. The artists explained that the children in these murals are metaphors for the thousands of children who are in slavery today. This mural tells the story of 'Kanta', who was abducted when she moved to the city and has now made a home for herself in a shelter.

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Amina

This mural is one of six created by Delhi Street Art in collaboration with the Jan Sahas Foundation, which works to promote and protect the rights of socially excluded communities. The were completed amid the launch campaign of the Foundation in October 2017. The 70 foot metal facade that covered the B. R. Ambedkar Building whilst it was under construction was turned into a canvas by 10 artists from DSA. These murals highlighted the plight of abducted children, who are exploited and abused. They juxtaposed their past with their present, exposing how children are vulnerable to traffickers. The artists explained that the children in these murals are metaphors for the thousands of children who are in slavery today. This mural tells the story of 'Amina', who was sold as a child and forced into marriage.

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From Your Strength, I Weave Your Beauty

This mural shows an older woman on the left, with struggle carved onto her face. On the other side, we see her young daughter who pulls the fog that envelops her mother and uses this fog to weave threads of gold, creating a new life for both of them. It is situated in Lodhi Colony, an area of New Delhi that is full of murals thanks to the St+Art India Foundation. This non-profit organisation takes up projects to make art accessible to the public with their murals and installations in the area. This piece was created by Shilo Shiv Suleman with survivors of sex trafficking who are involved in Sewing New Futures. This is a social enterprise that empowers survivors and girls at risk of trafficking through career training, education, medical care, and social services. The company opened their pilot centre in May 2014 and has gone on to train and employ women to create fashion items, which are sold worldwide through their website. Suleman is involved with the Fearless Collective, an organisation that is building a movement of women across South Asia using beauty and art to reclaim public spaces with their stories. Set up in 2013, the organisation has created 25 murals, in eight countries and with hundreds of co-creators and is currently raising funds to open the first Fearless Collective Public Art Residency. 

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Together We Can End Human Trafficking

This mural was created by Joel Artista in collaboration with Artolution, Meridian International Center, Shakti Vahini and the US Consulate in Kolkata. It raises awareness of modern slavery in West Bengal and hopes to educate people on human trafficking and enlist their help to end slavery.The piece was part of 'Shanti Arts for Action' by Artolution, a community-based public art organisation that seeks to ignite positive social change through collaborative art making. This project engaged young people in slum communities, street children, those in drug rehabilitation and survivors of human trafficking. The mural was inspired by a photograph that was taken by Brooke Shaden when she worked with Kolata Sanved, an organisation that helps survivors of trafficking with dance therapy. Shaden partnered with the women and the girls to create a series of photographic self-portraits in which they each chose a pose that they felt represented their stories. Sangeeta portrayed herself having her ankle gripped by a menacing hand, while she reached toward another hand for support. When Kolata Sanved collaborator Laura Price showed Artista this photograph, he was moved by the image and the story behind it, and received permission to use it as the central figure in the mural.The sari of the main figure depicts many of the main issues around modern slavery along with images from Bengali folkloric art. On the opening day of the International Anti-Human Trafficking Conclave there was an event, with dancers who are survivors of trafficking. This mural and the events surrounding it place survivors at the centre of their efforts.Joel Artista (Joel Bergner) has completed several murals against human trafficking and modern slavery. He is an artist, educator and activist who is celebrated for his antislavery artwork and murals. Artista's art is heavily influenced by his work with communities and non-profit organisations, and in 2015 he joined forces with Max Frieder to form Artolution. This community-based arts initiative empowers artists, youth and communities to be agents of positive social change and explore critical societal issues and create opportunities for constructive dialogue.

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8. Survivor - The Hunt for the Lost Durga

The organisation MISSING was founded by Leena Kejriwal and started as a public art project after years of working with NGOs such as Apne Aap, Hamari Muskan and New Light. As an artist, Kejriwal fought against human trafficking by creating installations in galleries that brought up the realities of sex trafficking. She felt that the world needed a new approach to tackling human trafficking and introduced MISSING as a four-part Art As Activism movement, the first of which was the MISSING Stencil Campaign. The Hunt for the Lost Durga is the first of a series of mural walks that MISSING is undertaking in its plan to engage the public with the issue of child trafficking. The murals were completed with the support of Shalimar Paints under their Colours for Change initiative. This mural walk is accompanied by an interactive Facebook messenger experience - the viewer can type 'Missing Mural Walk' into the search bar of the Facebook Messenger App then press 'Get Started' to be guided through the mural walk. The virtual guide asks the viewer which mural they can see and provides information about the mural and child trafficking, always ending with the question 'why wait for a girl to get trafficked to save her?' The virtual guide is still available and you can use it anywhere in the world. This is the eight and final piece in the mural walk titled 'Survivor.' The Durga has managed to escape, but her story does not end there. The virtual guide tells how sometimes girls cannot return home to their families and others are forced back on the run where they are at risk of being trafficked once again. This highlights how important it is to support survivors and provide them with alternative options to help them escape the world of trafficking. 

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7. Hidden in Plain Sight - The Hunt for the Lost Durga

The organisation MISSING was founded by Leena Kejriwal and started as a public art project after years of working with NGOs such as Apne Aap, Hamari Muskan and New Light. As an artist, Kejriwal fought against human trafficking by creating installations in galleries that brought up the realities of sex trafficking. She felt that the world needed a new approach to tackling human trafficking and introduced MISSING as a four-part Art As Activism movement, the first of which was the MISSING Stencil Campaign. The Hunt for the Lost Durga is the first of a series of mural walks that MISSING is undertaking in its plan to engage the public with the issue of child trafficking. The murals were completed with the support of Shalimar Paints under their Colours for Change initiative. This mural walk is accompanied by an interactive Facebook messenger experience - the viewer can type 'Missing Mural Walk' into the search bar of the Facebook Messenger App then press 'Get Started' to be guided through the mural walk. The virtual guide asks the viewer which mural they can see and provides information about the mural and child trafficking, always ending with the question 'why wait for a girl to get trafficked to save her?' The virtual guide is still available and you can use it anywhere in the world. This piece is the seventh in the mural walk, titled 'Hidden in Plain Sight'. The virtual guide tells the viewer that the Durga is now missing and states that 42% of India's trafficked people come from India. This mural highlights how modern slavery and human trafficking happens all around us, but is not always visible - it is hidden in plain sight. 

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6. The Black Hole - The Hunt for the Lost Durga

The organisation MISSING was founded by Leena Kejriwal and started as a public art project after years of working with NGOs such as Apne Aap, Hamari Muskan and New Light. As an artist, Kejriwal fought against human trafficking by creating installations in galleries that brought up the realities of sex trafficking. She felt that the world needed a new approach to tackling human trafficking and introduced MISSING as a four-part Art As Activism movement, the first of which was the MISSING Stencil Campaign. The Hunt for the Lost Durga is the first of a series of mural walks that MISSING is undertaking in its plan to engage the public with the issue of child trafficking. The murals were completed with the support of Shalimar Paints under their Colours for Change initiative. This mural walk is accompanied by an interactive Facebook messenger experience - the viewer can type 'Missing Mural Walk' into the search bar of the Facebook Messenger App then press 'Get Started' to be guided through the mural walk. The virtual guide asks the viewer which mural they can see and provides information about the mural and child trafficking, always ending with the question 'why wait for a girl to get trafficked to save her?' The virtual guide is still available and you can use it anywhere in the world. This piece is the sixth in the mural walk and is titled 'The Black Hole'. The virtual guide tells the viewer that the Durga is depressed and in a dark place, or a black hole, now she has been trafficked. She has been sold for Rs 5000, the average price of a 13 year old girl in India, meaning that she has been sold for less than 40kg of chicken. It also relays how 1.2 million girls and 3 million women are sold every year. 

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5. Durga On The Run - The Hunt for the Lost Durga

The organisation MISSING was founded by Leena Kejriwal and started as a public art project after years of working with NGOs such as Apne Aap, Hamari Muskan and New Light. As an artist, Kejriwal fought against human trafficking by creating installations in galleries that brought up the realities of sex trafficking. She felt that the world needed a new approach to tackling human trafficking and introduced MISSING as a four-part Art As Activism movement, the first of which was the MISSING Stencil Campaign. The Hunt for the Lost Durga is the first of a series of mural walks that MISSING is undertaking in its plan to engage the public with the issue of child trafficking. The murals were completed with the support of Shalimar Paints under their Colours for Change initiative. This mural walk is accompanied by an interactive Facebook messenger experience - the viewer can type 'Missing Mural Walk' into the search bar of the Facebook Messenger App then press 'Get Started' to be guided through the mural walk. The virtual guide asks the viewer which mural they can see and provides information about the mural and child trafficking, always ending with the question 'why wait for a girl to get trafficked to save her?' The virtual guide is still available and you can use it anywhere in the world. This piece is the fifth in the mural walk, and is titled 'Durga On The Run'. The virtual guide describes how many young girls are trafficked in India, stating that there has been 133% increase in number of young girls trafficked. While some girls may be able to escape by running away, they cannot run forever and the mural urges young girls to speak out to parents, teachers or policemen to tell them what's happened.

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4. You Can't Hear Me - The Hunt for the Lost Durga

The organisation MISSING was founded by Leena Kejriwal and started as a public art project after years of working with NGOs such as Apne Aap, Hamari Muskan and New Light. As an artist, Kejriwal fought against human trafficking by creating installations in galleries that brought up the realities of sex trafficking. She felt that the world needed a new approach to tackling human trafficking and introduced MISSING as a four-part Art As Activism movement, the first of which was the MISSING Stencil Campaign. The Hunt for the Lost Durga is the first of a series of mural walks that MISSING is undertaking in its plan to engage the public with the issue of child trafficking. The murals were completed with the support of Shalimar Paints under their Colours for Change initiative. This mural walk is accompanied by an interactive Facebook messenger experience - the viewer can type 'Missing Mural Walk' into the search bar of the Facebook Messenger App then press 'Get Started' to be guided through the mural walk. The virtual guide asks the viewer which mural they can see and provides information about the mural and child trafficking, always ending with the question 'why wait for a girl to get trafficked to save her?' The virtual guide is still available and you can use it anywhere in the world. This piece is the fourth in the mural walk and is titled 'You Can't Hear Me'. The mural depicts the Durga's mouth as below us and on the floor, symbolising the fact that we cannot hear what she is trying to say and she has no voice. It highlights how, even though many girls in India are becoming educated, their ambitions are being suppressed and opportunities for them to be self-reliant are squashed by system. The virtual guide notes how 'sometimes she is crying out for help but people cannot hear her'.

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3. Ten Faces of Patriarchy - The Hunt for the Lost Durga

The organisation MISSING was founded by Leena Kejriwal and started as a public art project after years of working with NGOs such as Apne Aap, Hamari Muskan and New Light. As an artist, Kejriwal fought against human trafficking by creating installations in galleries that brought up the realities of sex trafficking. She felt that the world needed a new approach to tackling human trafficking and introduced MISSING as a four-part Art As Activism movement, the first of which was the MISSING Stencil Campaign. The Hunt for the Lost Durga is the first of a series of mural walks that MISSING is undertaking in its plan to engage the public with the issue of child trafficking. The murals were completed with the support of Shalimar Paints under their Colours for Change initiative. This mural walk is accompanied by an interactive Facebook messenger experience - the viewer can type 'Missing Mural Walk' into the search bar of the Facebook Messenger App then press 'Get Started' to be guided through the mural walk. The virtual guide asks the viewer which mural they can see and provides information about the mural and child trafficking, always ending with the question 'why wait for a girl to get trafficked to save her?' The virtual guide is still available and you can use it anywhere in the world. This piece is the third in the mural walk and is titled 'Ten Faces of Patriarchy'. The virtual guide describes how the Durga is influenced by all of the people that she grows up around. The organisation maintains that in order to overthrow patriarchy, the people around young girls, like the Durga, need to inform them about the system of patriarchy and need to teach her to be smart and not just "good". 

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2. Who Am I? - The Hunt for the Lost Durga

The organisation MISSING was founded by Leena Kejriwal and started as a public art project after years of working with NGOs such as Apne Aap, Hamari Muskan and New Light. As an artist, Kejriwal fought against human trafficking by creating installations in galleries that brought up the realities of sex trafficking. She felt that the world needed a new approach to tackling human trafficking and introduced MISSING as a four-part Art As Activism movement, the first of which was the MISSING Stencil Campaign. The Hunt for the Lost Durga is the first of a series of mural walks that MISSING is undertaking in its plan to engage the public with the issue of child trafficking. The murals were completed with the support of Shalimar Paints under their Colours for Change initiative. This mural walk is accompanied by an interactive Facebook messenger experience - the viewer can type 'Missing Mural Walk' into the search bar of the Facebook Messenger App then press 'Get Started' to be guided through the mural walk. The virtual guide asks the viewer which mural they can see and provides information about the mural and child trafficking, always ending with the question 'why wait for a girl to get trafficked to save her?' The virtual guide is still available and you can use it anywhere in the world. This piece is the second in the mural walk and is titled 'Who Am I?'. The virtual guide asks the viewer how many people they see and discusses the different appearance of the fifth person on the far left. This faded figure is the Durga and she is playing the role that people around her expect her to play. However by taking on everyone else's colours, she is losing her own identity and fading into the background. 

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1. Ma'er Chotu Durga - The Hunt of the Lost Durga

The organisation MISSING was founded by Leena Kejriwal and started as a public art project after years of working with NGOs such as Apne Aap, Hamari Muskan and New Light. As an artist, Kejriwal fought against human trafficking by creating installations in galleries that brought up the realities of sex trafficking. She felt that the world needed a new approach to tackling human trafficking and introduced MISSING as a four-part Art As Activism movement, the first of which was the MISSING Stencil Campaign. The Hunt for the Lost Durga is the first of a series of mural walks that MISSING is undertaking in its plan to engage the public with the issue of child trafficking. The murals were completed with the support of Shalimar Paints under their Colours for Change initiative. This mural walk is accompanied by an interactive Facebook messenger experience - the viewer can type 'Missing Mural Walk' into the search bar of the Facebook Messenger App then press 'Get Started' to be guided through the mural walk. The virtual guide asks the viewer which mural they can see and provides information about the mural and child trafficking, always ending with the question 'why wait for a girl to get trafficked to save her?' The virtual guide is still available and you can use it anywhere in the world.  This piece is the first in the mural walk and is titled 'Ma'er Chotu Durga'. The virtual guide describes how Durga is getting ready for school - she is doing her hair and putting a pink flower (far bottom right), pink ribbon and pink clip in her hair (left). The guide then explains that Durga can be trafficked today and states that every 26 seconds a child disappears into the world of trafficking.