Human trafficking and modern slavery are estimated to affect more than 40 million people worldwide. They are recognised as crimes and as violations of human rights, but are also forms of chronic interpersonal trauma. Although research has documented the myriad harms of human trafficking and modern slavery, including mental and physical health problems, little has been done to explore the processes or meanings of recovery.
Recovering from Modern Slavery is a research-based art project that will seek to understand the meaning of recovery for women survivors of human trafficking, describe the process of and pathways to recovery, identify factors that promote or hinder recovery processes for women survivors of human trafficking, and visually represent the emergent narratives of recovery through large-scale portraits in Sara Shamma: Modern Slavery at Bush House Arcade from 1 October until 22 November 2019.
During the residency the project team, made up of Dr Siân Oram, Lecturer in Women's Mental Health at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), Dr Victoria Williamson, King's Centre for Military Health Research and artist Sara Shamma, will interview female survivors of human trafficking and modern slavery and experts who work to provide support to or advocate on behalf of women with these experiences. In addition to providing much needed research evidence, the project seeks to transform the visual vocabulary of human trafficking and modern slavery and to communicate to the widest possible audience what individuals, institutions, and states can do to support women to experience from this form of abuse.
Recovering from Modern Slavery is a King’s Artists collaboration between King’s College London’s Health Service and Population Research Department and the artist Sara Shamma. It is supported the university’s Culture team and King’s Sanctuary Programme.
The outputs of Shamma's residency culminated in Sara Shamma: Modern Slavery , an exhibition at Bush House from 1 October to 22 November 2019.
Watch 'Yes, I'm here', a film documenting the residency and the development of artwork for the exhibition:
Sara Shamma is one of Syria's most celebrated contemporary artists, whose works can be found in both public and private collections around the globe. Born in Damascus, Syria, to a Syrian father and Lebanese mother, she moved to London in 2016, where she currently lives and works, under the auspices of an Exceptional Talent Visa. She has been the recipient of various international art awards and was a prizewinner in the 2004 BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery, London; she became the United Nations World Food programmes 'Celebrity Partner' in 2010.
Sara has participated in a number of solo and group exhibitions including: London, Art Sawa Gallery (Dubai, 2017); World Civil War Portraits, The Old Truman Brewery (London, 2015); Diaspora, Art Sawa Gallery (Dubai, 2014); Q, Royal College of Art (London, 2013); Birth, Art House (Damascus, 2011); Love, 360 MALL (Kuwait, 2009); The Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition, The Mall Galleries (London, 2013); Nord Art 2012 organized by KiC – Kunst in der Carlshütte (Büdelsdorf, 2012); UAE Through Arabian Eyes, (Dubai, 2008); Syrian Artists, Souq Wakef Art Center (Doha, 2008); Panorama of Syrian Arts, Catzen Arts Centre at The American University (Washington D.C, 2007); (shortlisted) International Painting Prize of the Castellon County Council, (Castellon 2005), Castellon and the Municipal Arts Centre of Alcorcon, (Madrid, 2005-2006); Women and Arts, International Vision, Expo Sharjah (Sharjah, 2005).
Art awards include first prize in Latakia Biennial, Syria (2001), 4th BP Portrait Award, National Portrait Gallery, London (2004), 1st The Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize, The South Australian Museum (2008), and a painting prize at the Florence Biennial (2013).
Dr Siân Oram is a Lecturer in Women's Mental Health at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, co-leading the Women's Mental Health module for third-year BSc Psychology students and the Section's Women's Mental Health short course. She holds a PhD and MSc from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, a BA from the University of Cambridge and a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice for Higher Education. Siân is the Deputy Director (KCL) of the NIHR Mental Health Policy Research Unit and previously managed an NIHR research programme to inform the NHS response to human trafficking.
Siân's work aims to reduce the risk and impact of violence through qualitative, epidemiological, and intervention research, with a particular focus on human trafficking and domestic violence. She conducts mixed methods research, with her most recent work including survey and qualitative research with trafficked people, qualitative research with health and other professionals, clinical informatics studies, and systematic reviews. Her work is cited in the recent NICE guideline on domestic violence and in the 2013 and 2014 reports of the Chief Medical Officer and she was recently awarded a British Council Travel grant to attend an international workshop on Violence Against Women and Children in Diverse Contexts to build partnerships between institutions.