Stoneleigh-Burnham School will present the collaborative exhibition “Safe?” an installation of paintings by Robert Markey and photographs by Julie Orfirer, on display January 18 to February 20, 2013. The public is invited to attend an opening reception on Friday, January 18th at 6 p.m. in Geissler Gallery. The couple, from Ashfield, MA, will also offer a public gallery talk on the inspiration and intention behind their installation earlier in the day on Friday, January 18, 2012 at 2:40 p.m. in Geissler Gallery.
This exhibit comes out of a project creating mosaic murals with at-risk children in Brazil and Cambodia, working with the environmental police in both countries to depict species at risk in local habitats. While in Cambodia, the couple became aware of the “magnitude of human trafficking – both sex trafficking and slave labor trafficking – and the brutality” of which it is a part. In addition to publishing a book about their project, Markey and Orfirer developed this installation of paintings and photographs as a means for juxtaposing the risk that so many children face with the faces of the children with whom they worked and connected. Markey’s vivid portraits convey the vulnerability of each child with the same richness and sensitivity as that of his brilliantly colored brushstrokes. Originally intended to document the project, Orfirer’s photographs are intimate as well as informative, revealing expressions of frustration, as well as capturing the tenderness of their attention and pride in their work. The exhibition shows the relationships forged with these children, highlighting the heart-breaking and precarious circumstances so many children experience.