Two Pahrump Valley High School art students were featured at a Las Vegas event called “Break These Chains, Live Free” at the Fremont Street Experience on Jan. 21, where their art was prominently displayed.
Senior Syamini Breathwaite won the ages 16-18 category, and sophomore Lainey Dattillo won the 14-15 category.
The art students won a contest in Pahrump which was put on by the local chapter of the Soroptimist of Pahrump Valley.
Cecilia Thomas is a member of the club. According to her, the Soroptimist has a nonprofit organization called Break These Chains, which is dedicated to raising awareness on human trafficking.
According to the Soroptimist website, their group is a global women’s organization aiming to improve women’s and children’s lives through programs that give them better access to education and work.
“I have been on this board for about a year,” she said. “But our board has been working on various projects to raise awareness on human trafficking for about three years now.”
Thomas said this year’s project was this art contest in Pahrump at the high school where around 19 students participated.
She said the event focused on human trafficking since Las Vegas is a hub for the worldwide problem.
Both students created artwork that was hand-drawn with colored pencils and depicted the pain and suffering experienced by people that are victims of human trafficking.
Dattillo drew tied hands or people in chains. Breathwaite drew a man with a shopping cart shopping for women, who were drawn in jars.
“I did a little bit of research,” Breathwaite said. “I kind of just liked the idea that he’s shopping for women. My inspiration was that no one is an object and no one should have a price tag. I was just happy to be a part of this and help bring awareness to human trafficking because it’s a huge issue right now in Las Vegas and everywhere.”
Dattillo said she didn’t have any problems getting into her topic.
“I did a bit of research and I got the whole main idea,” she said. “It wasn’t hard to get into the topic because it is such a big deal. I was motivated to bring awareness to this. The chains in my drawing symbolize imprisonment.”
“It was sad to see that this is what happens in this world and I feel bad for all the women and guys that have to go through this and it was inspiring.”
Crystal Dabrowski, an art teacher at the high school, has taught both students.
“Breathwaite is showing great artistic talent,” Dabrowski said. “She is going to pursue an art degree and I am sure she will be successful.”
Dobrowski also feels that Dattillo is also a great artist.
“I hope she takes art the rest of her high school years,” the teacher said. “I have only had her for one semester.”
According to Thomas, the work will now be displayed at the Pahrump Valley Library. Also, the winners will get their art on book bags and note cards, which will be given to the artist but also used to raise awareness in human trafficking at future events.
The National Trafficking Hotline’s phone number is 1-888-373-7888. Visit breakthesechainslivefree.org for information about raising human trafficking awareness.
Contact reporter Vern Hee at email@example.com