Flying Girls is an installation by Peju Alatise a writer, visual artist and filmmaker from Nigeria. The sculptures represent issues of girl child abuse in Nigeria. Here, eight girls with wings stand in a circle together, with 250 birds flying above them, and 1200 butterflies fluttering around them. At Venice Biennale there was a looping audio of girls playing and singing. Truly, phenomenal.
SHARON OBUOBI WITH PEJU ALATISE’S FLYING GIRLS INSTALLATION. PHOTO © SHARON OBUOBI
So, lets chat the life of the girl child housekeeper in Nigeria. According to Reuters, some of these children are trafficked from surrounding countries such as Benin as young as the age of 10 to come into the homes of the rich and powerful upper class to serve as servants for the families. Some are not trafficked, others are sent away by their own families to become breadwinners of the home. With pay as low as 10 000 Naira/month ($33), Little data exists on the number of girls working as maids, confusion surrounds the laws about their minimum age and the practice is deeply ingrained in Nigerian culture. “These are under-the-radar crimes so there is no data on how many house help are trafficked through Nigeria’s borders,” said Arinze Orakwue of Nigeria’s anti-trafficking agency NAPTIP. “These are usually done under the auspices of the family so it’s difficult to prosecute,” Orakwue added.