Local Parishes

Art exhibit sheds light on human trafficking

Thirteen wall sculptures in glass by internationally acclaimed artist Hasna Sal are on display at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Leawood. The theme of the exhibit is: “Human Trafficking.” This piece is titled “Mystique.”

by Joe Bollig

LEAWOOD — Human trafficking — the exploitation of vulnerable persons for prostitution or slave-like labor — thrives in the darkness of secrecy and indifference.

But one artist is choosing to bring this evil to light through the medium of colorful works of art in glass.

Internationally acclaimed artist Hasna Sal, now residing in Overland Park, has created 13 wall sculptures in glass now on display at St. Michael the Archangel Parish, 143rd Street and Nall, Leawood.

The free art exhibit, “Into the Light: Stories of People of the Park,” is on display from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily until July 22 in the church’s lower narthex art gallery. The theme of the exhibit is: “Human Trafficking.”

This piece by Hasna Sal is titled “Future.” You can view it and more from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily until July 22 in the lower narthex art gallery at St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Leawood.

The sculptures are inspired by the stories of women and youth enslaved, bought and sold in the worldwide web of human trafficking. The works express universal stories of isolation, brokenness, desolation, hope and redemption, according to Kevin Vogt, director of sacred liturgy, music and art at St. Michael.

To visit the gallery, go through the main doors of the church in the courtyard between the church and the school. From the narthex (main vestibule), take the stairs or the elevator to the lower level.

The exhibition will close with a “Meet the Artist” reception from 6 to 9 p.m. on July 22, the feast of St. Mary Magdalene. Sal is the recent winner of the Doge International Award at the Venice Art Biennale in Italy,  and was a featured artist at the Cannes Film Festival in France and New York Fashion Week.

This piece by Hasna Sal is titled “Wild and Free.”

Habitat for Humanity of Kansas City is sponsoring a concurrent silent auction of the exhibited works to raise funds for a public art memorial for victims of human trafficking. The memorial will be placed in Lykins Square Park in Kansas City, Missouri.

“Whereas the narrative of the park sculptures involves a story of redemption through faith — the church going into the park — the current exhibit is inspired by the stories and experiences of those who have been brought low and broken,” said Vogt, “the stories of people of the park being brought to the church, who, like a loving mother, listens to the suffering of her children, and who — like the Lord — hears the cry of the poor.”

To view the 13 works in the exhibit and to participate in the silent auction, go to the parish website at: stmichaelcp.org/gallery-exhibition.

About the author

Joe Bollig

Joe has been with The Leaven since 1993. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in journalism. Before entering print journalism he worked in commercial radio. He has worked for the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press and Sun Publications in Overland Park. During his journalistic career he has covered beats including police, fire, business, features, general assignment and religion. While at The Leaven he has been a writer, photographer and videographer. He has won or shared several Catholic Press Association awards, as well as Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara awards for mission coverage. He graduated with a certification in catechesis from a two-year distance learning program offered by the Maryvale Institute for Catechesis, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education at Old Oscott, Great Barr, in Birmingham, England.

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