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Sex Workers of Aotearoa: A day in the life of exhibition came into fruition because of the stereotypes and stigmas that sex workers face from people who judge the industry from the outside. These stereotypical representations are what make sex workers afraid to share who they are, or what they do.
Photo credit: Museums Wellington. It got me thinking about what I could do to represent myself and others in the industry and to challenge public perceptions. Having always been crafty, and as I know some sex workers who also enjoy art, I came up with the idea of an all sex worker art exhibition.
With a growing interest from the community, I started searching for venues to host the exhibition. Of the six galleries I contacted, most were already booked for the month of June and the others had shut up shop. Still, none of these spaces seemed like the right fit or were just unavailable. While browsing the Wellington City Council website for display stands, I came across the Hancock gallery which was available for hire.
It was after contacting them that they suggested the exhibition sounded perfect for Wellington Museum as they had a space called Flux. After 13 failed attempts, what was one more shot?
A short email later and I was elated to be told that my proposal fits the Flux kaupapa nicely, and the rest, as they say, is history. I feel most people have this idea in their heads that sex workers, more specifically full-service sex workers, are constantly just having sex, as if there is nothing else required in the profession. For myself, sex is such a small proportion of my work. I think back to working in a donut shop — was the only requirement for me to sell donuts?