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Art installations to raise awareness about slavery

By Katelyn Day, Staff Writer

 

It's a typical Wednesday morning -- the sun is shining, the line for Starbucks is crazy and your friend is in a cage.

That's what will happen next week when Hofstra student Maria Berruti and her freedom team begin their Freedom Movement Art Installation. Berruti, a Fine Arts major at Hofstra, has been ceaselessly constructing human-sized cages which will be displayed across campus.

The idea for the cages started in January when Berruti went to "Passion," a Christian youth conference, which raised money and awareness for slavery through art installations. Berruti was inspired by the movement and decided to bring the cause to Hofstra's campus.

"The cage is going to be a physical representation, but really what it represents is the fear in the minds of the people who are enslaved," Berruti said during an interview. "It's really the traffickers and pimps and slave drivers who form this cage of fear in their minds."

The Freedom Movement Art Installation is comprised of four cages, each representing a different type of slavery. The first cage is made of wood, wire and burlap and is covered in objects typically made by slaves. The other cages are made of cut metal and plumbing. Two of the cages will hold Hofstra students, while the other two will have a human representation.

"I wanted people to be put in [the slaves'] place. It's not just a number; it's not just a statistic; it's people," Berruti said. "I want people's hearts to break for those people. They're brothers, they're sisters, they're wives, they're husbands, they're children."

The interactive cages will be placed outside of the student center and in front of Hofstra Hall. The cages will also feature a prayer rug where students can pray for human trafficking victims, write letters to rescued slaves and make donations. Students who want to volunteer to stand in the cages can sign up at the table in the student center or visit the Freedom Movement Facebook page, www.facebook.com/HofstraFreedomMovement.

"This is something that we as humans have to deal with," said Berruti. "Slavery still exists. There are 27 million people who need our help. We are the ones who hold the key; it's time to do something about it."

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