My practice explores the issue of representing the unrepresented victims of modern-day slavery within the UK. A current concern is that most victims do not identify themselves as slaves due to coercion and psychologically manipulating relationships with their oppressors. It has been suggested that there are more slaves today than ever before, however arguably this issue goes unseen as there is no clear depiction of modern-day slavery, it is hidden in plain sight. Therefore, my practice responds to a current contemporary thought – ‘What does modern day slavery look like?’
A key concept for my work is the materiality of agricultural traded commodities such as sugar. This raw material was heavily traded within historical transatlantic slavery. I often take a destructive but sensitive approach to creating work through methods such as burning and melting. This is reflective of the physical abuse inflicted upon victims of historical slavery whilst the ephemerality of melted sugar as a material represents apprehensive mental state of modern-
day victims. Use of sugar as a material within the context of modern-day slavery allows the viewer to consider how slavery was not a historical event that ended with abolitionism but is an ongoing issue of the 21st Century.