The silhouettes of young girls exhibited at the India Art Fair 2014, larger than life and painted pitch black so that they appear like black holes, sent out a strong message: don’t forget about the millions of girls and young women who suddenly go missing each year, disappearing into the dark corners and holes of our towns and cities, lost to sex traffickers.
Kolkata-based photographer and artist Leena Kejriwal installed these silhouettes as part of her project called MISSING to draw public attention towards this topic, which is often brushed aside. To engage the attention of the masses, and with the sky as her canvas, Kejriwal installed the silhouettes as a visual metaphor. “I want to wham into people’s heads that the commodification of a human body is not ethical,” she says.
Collaborating with the Rotary Teach Child Welfare program, her crowd-funding campaign has spread to Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Hyderabad, Guwahati, Dhanbad and Ahmedabad.
To make the project more interactive, the silhouettes are supplemented by an augmented reality app and mobile game called ‘The Missing’. Using the app, you can point your phone at one of the silhouettes to engage with it, uncover their stories and connect with NGOs.
The game puts the player in the shoes of Champa, a young trafficked girl trapped in a brothel. While trying to escape, Champa must solicit customers to meet daily targets, and you/she is punished if this is not met.
As the player, you experience the hopelessness and fear that trafficked girls experience on a daily basis. “The mobile game is bound to touch a nerve,” says Kejriwal. In this way, she hopes to highlight the plight of the millions of missing girls in our country and drive an impetus for aid.
Featured image source: Save Missing Girls
Written by Anisha Kashwani