FSSA Student Work on Display at the U.N.

FSSA student art work depicting sexual violence in war time is currently on display at the lobby of the U.N. in NYC.

The United Nations (U.N.) is currently exhibiting artwork from Frank Sinatra School of the Arts’ (FSSA) students responding to sexual violence during times of war.

Students from Ms. Spata’s 2018 sophomore art class recently attended the opening at the U.N., where the work was on display in the lobby of the international headquarters.

Last year, Ms. Spata’s sophomore painting class was contacted by the U.N., specifically OSRSG-SVC, after several members saw examples of student work from the school. The U.N. then prompted the students to create pieces responding to the sexual harassment of Prisoners of War (POWs). 

Officials of the special representative of the secretary general on sexual violence in conflict (OSRSG-SVC) is an office in the U.N. tasked with the political advocacy against sexual violence during times of conflict. Originally established in 2009 the OSRSG-SVC has made a concerted effort against venereal assault and is now celebrating its ten year anniversary.

Two paintings by FSSA junior art student Younez Morales.

Now the students are seeing the impact of their work after attending a conference held by representatives of the U.N. showcasing the art.

“It is an amazing opportunity for us to be a part of this event and campaign to speak out against sexual violence in conflict through our artwork,” said Jaquelin Chokpaporn, a junior art major. 

At the conference, Jaquelin gave a speech thanking the U.N. on behalf of the participants and the school.

“Although we all took different approaches to this project, we hope that our artwork embodies the ordeal of sexual violence in conflict and the need to bring attention to preventing and resolving this scourge,” she said in her speech. 

Ms. Spata expressed extreme pride in her students and their work after the conference.

“The work left an impression that will last a lifetime for me,” she said commending the students for their professionalism and whole- hearted involvement.

A piece by FSSA junior student Camila Araque.

“I think when Pramila Patten, Special representative of the (OSRSG-SVC, had met the students it was an eye opener for her to see how young our students were yet how mature the work was,” she added.

Ms. Patten also gave a speech complimenting the art for its depiction of the topic.

“The paintings evoke the complexity of what happens to the human psyche in the way of such irreversible violations,” she said in her speech. Giving gratitude to the students for creating such compelling imagery.

“The message that emerges is loud and clear. Stop. Enough. Never again,” she said.

When introducing the topic of sexual assault of P.O.Ws to her class Ms. Spata encouraged student led research. 

“The students did a ton of research learning about what’s happening in several different countries,” she said.

The pieces will next be shipped to the U.K. and put up for exhibition by Lord Ahmad, Minister of state for the commonwealth. The pieces will also be featured in a book marking the 10th year anniversary of the synthesis report.

– by Naima Ryan ’20