In Play, Jonathan Fung’s visually provocative exhibition continues to spread awareness on the disconcerting realities of human trafficking. His work targets the vulnerability and innocence of children amidst the haunting nature of modern-day slavery. Fung’s challenging topic cleverly creates a backdrop that weaves connotative signs and symbols for the viewer to engage and extract its meaning.
Play is a video sculpture with vintage television sets that are strategically placed down a metal playground slide. The TVs play footage of teenage girls and boys playing on a playground. The overarching message is that children are innocent and a valuable resource that should be protected instead of being a commodity for sale. Short films are shot with Kodak Super 8 Vision 3 and Kodak Super 8 Ektachrome 100D color motion picture films that juxtapose the innocence of children with an impeding metal fence, which acts as a barrier that a perpetrator crosses to prey on its victims.
In 2016, Jonathan spoke and shared his art installation, PEEP, during the Before Our Very Eyes event at Courthouse Square as part of Human Trafficking Awareness Week. Play is a reminder to the Redwood City Community that they are not immune to human trafficking. This wake-up call isn’t meant to instill fear, but to raise awareness and conversation to focus efforts on prevention.
In February 2017, San Mateo County’s first-ever human trafficking conviction was served to a Berkeley man who was found guilty of coercing a minor into prostitution and sentenced to 34 years in prison.
If you or someone you know is being forced into any activity — whether it’s commercial sex, farm work or any type of labor — call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at (888) 373-7888.
Play is showing December 22, 2019 through January 25, 2020 at 2208 Broadway, Redwood City. There is a free public closing reception on Saturday, January 25 at 4 p.m.
For more information, schedule of upcoming exhibitions, artist talks, and all other events visit www.fungcollaboratives.org
About the Artist
Jonathan Fung is an interdisciplinary artist, professor and social activist. He has created site-specific installations, short independent films, and public art that explore the human condition, cultural and social justice issues, especially the injustice of human trafficking. Fung’s work is poetic, poignant and thought provoking and has been a platform to expose the darkness of modern-day slavery.
His award-winning short narrative film on human trafficking, Hark screened at international and domestic film festivals, including the Cannes Film Festival Court Metrage. He received the Best Director Creative Excellence Award at the CreaTV Awards, and Best Short Film at the Third World Indie, Awareness, and Wine Country Film Festivals.
Fung’s public art installation PEEP was featured in the 5×5 Project in Washington DC and during Super Bowl 50 at Levi Stadium in 2016. His site-specific art installation Coolie was exhibited at the de Saisset Museum and exposed the forced labor of Chinese immigrants during the California Gold Rush era.
Fung was invited and collaborated with Nam June Paik, the father of video art, for Modulation in Sync at the Guggenheim Museum and Electronic Superhighway at the Holly Solomon Gallery, both in New York City.
Jonathan Fung is a professor and Mosaic Faculty Fellow empowering social justice and diversity at San Jose State University and teaches photography and art through a social justice lens.