Originally presented as a Collateral Event for the 56th Venice Biennale, Shrine for Girls is a poetic sculptural installation and a meditation on the global plight of exploited girls and women who have been victimized, brutally silenced, and written out of history simply because of their gender. After its New York presentation, the project will travel in 2017-18 to India, Ireland, and Nigeria –the locations of the events that inspired the work. Cronin gathered hundreds of articles of women’s and girls’ clothing from around the world to represent three specific tragedies: brightly-colored saris symbolize two Indian girls who were kidnapped, gang-raped, and lynched from a tree at the edge of their village; hijabs signify 276 Nigerian Chibok schoolgirls who were kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram in 2014 – over 200 of whom still remain missing; and gray and white aprons & uniforms symbolize those worn by fallen women, in forced labor at the Magdalene Asylums and Laundries in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Europe, and the U.S. Moving from the marble alters and sacred architecture of Venice’s sixteenth-century Chiesa di San Gallo to the secular gallery context of FLAG, Cronin will present the same three fabric sculptures, here piled on top of their shipping crates to now address human trafficking as well as human rights issues. The installation of clothing, of what the missing bodies would have inhabited, provokes an emotional and visceral response to what is absent. Small photographs of each tragedy accompany the sculptures and provide very real context for the work. A new series of watercolor portraits place a human face on tragedy and amplify the identifiable victim effect,1 drawing our attention away from statistics to the magnitude of the individual loss and unrealized human potential. Cronin asks: What is the role of contemporary art in our 24-hour news cycle society? What can an artist do if they are not a politician, a policy maker or the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation? Hopefully the artist looks out, keenly observes the world, reflects, and responds in a way that shakes us out of our numbness. We cannot be silent.A fully illustrated catalogue for Shrine for Girls, Venice is available, including essays by Phong Bui, Ludovico Pratesi, and Maura Reilly, published by Silvana Editoriale (Milan). Shrine for Girls, Venice was curated by Ludovico Pratesi and presented by The Brooklyn Rail Curatorial Projects, with lead support provided by The Fuhrman Family Foundation and The FLAG Art Foundation.