'Pysanky Eggs' by Michelle Cioccoloni
To highlight the plight of young girls caught up in sex trafficking I have taken the Pysanky egg from Ukraine, a symbol of life and happiness, and, whilst apparently maintaining its beauty, have given it new meaning. The girls, whose lives have been taken away from them, become like Faberge’ Eggs, highly valued possessions which are worth incredible amounts of money, objects to be bought over and over again, but their beauty seen only for its monetary value.
Here the pattern is rendered in a similar way to Pysanky eggs, but there is no colour; the grey tones used show life being drained away, young girls being stripped of all personal identity, and the repetitive patterns, which from a distance appear very beautiful, reveal, on closer inspection, the brutal and repetitive nature of their ‘job’, and how the act of love loses any meaning and becomes not only a mere sex act, but, ultimately, also a life-threatening one.
The egg itself is a representation of the feelings of a person in this situation. Below the shell, inside the egg, lies the truth of the matter. Since the egg has been painted while raw and dipped in varnish to seal the design, following the Ukrainian tradition, it gradually begins to decompose without smelling, a parallel for the rotting soul of an abused girl who feels she's slowly dying inside whilst maintaining her outer beauty. Throughout the duration of the exhibition the eggs will undergo a similar metamorphosis to the girls' lives, a constant reminder of the ongoing nature of sex trafficking and an incentive to stop it.
Other artists who contributed work were Chantal Powell and Carinan Blijdenstein, whose sculpture I have shown below.