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“A MISSING CHILD SPEAKS” EXHIBIT WORKS TO END CHILD TRAFFICKING

Written By Sergy Odiduro
May 17, 2023 at 1:56 PM

CHAMPZY, a Miami-based surreal neo-expressionist, is hosting a fundraiser during the last two weekends in May. Image courtesy the artist.

Stefan Leon is an artist on an urgent mission. The Miami-based surreal neo-expressionist, also known as CHAMPZY, has been working feverishly to present “A Missing Child Speaks,” a one-man exhibit, show, and fundraiser during the last two weekends in May.

Even though he has received no sponsorships, this hasn’t deterred him from raising awareness on an issue that continues to plague children throughout the United States. Nothing, it seems, will stand in his way. “It’s the total devotion of my body, my soul, my being, and my mind, to get this done and to get this done in a short amount of time,” says Leon.

What’s his ultimate goal? To raise $100,000 and then give all donations and proceeds from the exhibit’s silent auction to Operation Underground Railroad.

“A Missing Child Speaks” Exhibit will benefit Operation Underground Railroad, a nonprofit dedicated to eliminating child sex trafficking. Image courtesy CHAMPZY ART.

The nonprofit is dedicated to eliminating child sex trafficking, assisting in undercover rescue operations, providing aftercare services to victims, and supporting law enforcement agencies.

Upon investigating further, Leon’s perspective on this issue was forever shifted. “In 2020 I found out about [this organization], and something hit me in my body. It was so visceral because, before that, I was unaware that this was a major issue, at least to the extent that it was in my conscious awareness,” he explains.

“So since then, a seed has been germinating. I wanted to take part in something that would support this cause and I know that it takes a tremendous amount of resources in order actually to help and support the cause that this is.”

As an artist, he decided the best way to bring awareness to the issue was to marry art with creativity. His efforts have resulted in a free “multi-elemental art exhibition” that combines performances, installations, and visual art.

“I started getting ideas for a collection that would be able to communicate or illustrate trafficking and child abuse, particularly emotional suppression,” Leon recalls.

“X” by CHAMPZY. Photo credit CHAMPZY ART.

In an effort to combat the often cyclical nature of abuse, he also wants to address the “wounded inner child” of the offenders as well as examine the environment that causes this abusive nature to exist. To spark this conversation, visitors will be able to view eight large-scale acrylic and mixed-media paintings accompanied by three large-format installations that feature offender archetypes.

The event will also feature an opening reception, a VIP cocktail, and a live performance on each Saturday of the exhibition.

For those who can’t attend in person, virtual tickets are also available. Online participants will be able to access exclusive features, view the exhibition, attend the silent auction and donate to the fundraiser. A live stream and replays of the performances will also be available at no cost.

Though Leon is one man, he is hoping to make a difference. “I wanted to take part,” he said. “I just felt like I had to do this.” And with support from the arts community and others who want to fight human trafficking, he is seeking to make this event a success. “We don’t do enough as a society to make this an issue but there are humans that absolutely care and I care too.”

WHAT: “A Missing Child Speaks” Art Exhibition and Fundraiser
WHERE: 360 Art Space, 395 Ne 59th St Miami Fl, 33137
WHEN: Hours Vary. The exhibit Is open the last two weekends in May: Weekend 1 (May 19 – 21) and Weekend 2 (May 26 – 28).
COST: Free exhibit. Donations encouraged. $0-$20
INFORMATION: Subscribe to the official updates at amissingchildspeaks.com or obtain tickets HERE .

 

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