A group of A level art students from Christ the King 6th Form College, Lewisham, along with their teacher Adrian Tobin and visiting artist Steve Dixon, have been very busy recently planning and creating a sculpture that resembles a dwelling you might find in shanty towns around the globe. The aim of this artisitic work is to raise awareness of today’s slave trade and its direct link to poverty, as well as to celebrate the creativity and social awareness of the students.
Art teacher Adrian Tobin who organised the project in response to several visits to the Philippines, said: “It involves awareness-raising on both poverty and human trafficking. It’s an integral part of the student’s coursework… It also highlights our young student’s genuine concern for those in need.”
Adrian Tobin also described some of the symbolism within the sculpture: “The string wrapped around the façades represents global trafficking routes used by gangs to transport their slaves. The fairy lights (which are solar powered) remind us of the power of seduction as well as the innocence of the victims (children make up 80% of the 2.4 million victims recorded in 2011). The structure is placed on stilts to echo the environment of where many shanty towns are located, where floods and even tsunamis are prevalent. All the materials are from found/discarded sources in contrast to our contemporary throwaway culture that contributes to problems in the poor parts of the planet.
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This week Jim Simmons, CAFOD Southwark Manager, and Patricia Colling, CAFOD Southwark School Volunteer, where invited to speak with RE groups at the Christ the King, to highlight the issues of slavery and poverty raised by this sculpture and also to tell the students about the impact of emergencies, and the kind of humanitarian response that CAFOD makes in such situations.
Jim Simmons said: “It’s a very exciting project and CAFOD is delighted to be so much part of it. Our hope is that some initiative and leadership might start among the 6th Formers within the college itself and within their local communities as a result of this day.”